• Current Affairs, 27thJanuary 2020




    1. Nation celebrates 71st Republic Day; President Ramnath Kovind takes salute of parade at Rajpath

    • Nation celebrated the 71st Republic Day today with a grand military parade and exhibition of its history, cultural diversity and strategic weaponry at the Rajpath in the National Capital.
    • President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the tricolour and took the salute of the parade. President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the Chief Guest at the Parade this year.
    • The Republic Day ceremony commenced with Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage to martyrs at the National War Memorial instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti. The National Flag was unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute.
    • The parade started from Vijay Chowk and proceeded towards the Red Fort grounds. It was commanded by Parade Commander, Lieutenant General Asit Mistry, General Officer Commanding, Headquarters Delhi Area. The winners of the highest gallantry awards followed him. They include the winners of the Param Vir Chakra and the Ashok Chakra.
    • The country’s military might, cultural diversity, social and economic progress was on display at the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath. For the first time, a contingent of women bikers of CRPF performed daredevil stunts. Sixteen states and Union Territories and six Central Ministries participated in the Parade.
    • Jammu and Kashmir participated in the parade for the first time as a Union Territory. Start-up India, Jal Jeevan Mission and financial inclusion were some of the themes of the tableaux of Ministries and Departments. The Air Force tableau displayed models of the Rafale aircraft, Tejas aircraft, Light Combat Helicopter, Akash Missiles System and Astra Missiles.
    • The major attraction was fly-past by the newly inducted Chinook and Apache helicopters along with Sukhoi and advanced light helicopters. Anti-satellite weapon – Mission Shakti, Army’s battle tank Bhishma were also showcased during the 90-minute long parade.
    • Sixteen marching contingents from the Armed Forces, Para-Military Forces, Delhi police and NCC along with 13 Military bands were also the centre of attraction.  The ceremony culminated with the national anthem and the release of colourful balloons.
    • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Ministers including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Prakash Javadekar, BJP President J P Nadda, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani were among those present on the occasion.



    1. Prime Minister Says Bru – Reang Agreement provides succour and relief to over 35000 refugees




    • In his first ever Mann Ki Baat of the new year and the new decade the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today said that Bru-Reang Agreement closes over two decade old refugee crisis providing succour and relief to over 34,000 refugees in Mizoram.
    • Explaining the problem in detail, Shri Modi said, “This problem pertains to the 90s. In 1997, ethnic tension forced the Bru-Reang tribe to leave Mizoram and take refuge in Tripura. These refugees were kept in temporary camps in Kanchanpur in North Tripura. It’s painful that the Bru-Reang community lost a significant part of their life as refugees. Life in camps meant that they were deprived of all basic amenities. For 23 years – no home, no land, no medical treatment for their families, no education facilities for their kids.”
    • Prime Minister said that several Governments have found no cure to the problem and the pain of the refugees. He appreciated the faith of the refugees in the Indian Constitution.
    • He said it is their belief that today led to the historic agreement that was signed in Delhi this month.
    • “It’s a result of that belief that their life is on the threshold of a new dawn today. As per the agreement, the path to a dignified life has been opened for them. Finally the new decade of 2020, has brought a new ray of hope in the life of the Bru-Reang community”, he said.
    • Explaining the benefits of the agreement, the Prime Minister said, “Around 34000 Bru refugees will be rehabilitated in Tripura. Not just that, the government will provide an assistance of close to Rs.600 crores for their rehabilitation and all-round development. Each displaced family will be provided a plot of land. They will be assisted in construction of a house. In addition, rations will be provided to them. They will now be able to benefit from the public welfare schemes of the state and central governments.”
    • Prime Minister termed this agreement as special, as it symbolises the spirit of cooperative federalism.
    • He said, “This agreement also epitomises the inherent compassion and sensitivity of Indian culture.”
    • Shed Violence – Return to Mainstream
    • Prime Minister said that violence cannot provide solutions to any problem. He praised the 644 Militants of 8 groups in Assam who surrendered their arms and decided to return to mainstream.
    • He said, “Assam, which hosted the grand ‘Khelo India’ games successfully, was witness to another great achievement. A few days ago, 644 militants pertaining to 8 different militant groups, surrendered with their weapons. Those who had strayed towards the path of violence, have expressed their faith in peace and decided to become a partner in the country’s progress and return to the mainstream.”
    • He said similarly in Tripura more than 80 people left the path of violence and returned to the mainstream and that insurgency in the North-East has considerably reduced.
    • He said, “The biggest reason for that is that every issue of this region is being honestly and peacefully solved through dialogue.”
    • He urged those who are still on the path of violence to return to the mainstream.
    • “On the solemn occasion of Republic day, I would appeal to anyone in any part of the country, who’s still seeking solutions to problems through violence and weapons, to return to the mainstream. They should have faith in their own capabilities and the capabilities of this country to resolve issues peacefully”, he said.



    1. English rendering of PM’s address in the 8th Episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat 2.0’ on 26.01.2020




    • My dear countrymen, Namaskar. Today is the 26thof January. Heartiest greetings to you on the Festival of our Republic. This is our first meeting of minds in the year 2020, through ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
    • This is the first such programme of the year; nay, of the decade. Friends, this time, it came across as appropriate to change the broadcast time of Mann Ki Baat, on account of the Republic Day Celebrations. And that is why I am reaching out to you this evening through Mann Ki Baat, having thought of a separate time slot.
    • Friends, every day is a new day; weeks and months keep seeing change; years witness transformation, except for the enthusiasm and fervor of the people of India! And, of course, we are no less… we are certain to outdo ourselves. The spirit of ‘can do’, is emerging as a new resolve. The sentiment of contributing positively to the country & society is gaining strength, day by day. Friends, we have come together, once again, on the dais of Mann Ki Baat.
    • This is to discuss newer subjects; to celebrate the latest achievements of our countrymen; in fact, to celebrate India. Mann Ki Baat has emerged as a fruitful, frank, effortless & organic platform for sharing, learning and growing together. Every month, thousands of people share their suggestions, their efforts, and their experiences thereby. And through the endeavour, we get a chance to discuss some extraordinary feats by people, which serve as a beacon of inspiration to society.
    • Somebody has succeeded in doing something – can we too achieve that! Can that particular venture be replicated to bring about a colossal transformation in the entire country? Can we establish that change into permanence, turning it into a simple, natural social habit? In a likewise quest to seek answers, the caravan of Mann Ki Baat progresses with a few appeals, some invocations and a lot of resolves to do something. For the past many years, we would have made varied resolves. Just as, ‘No to single use plastic’, buying Khadi or ‘local’, sanitation & cleanliness, respect & honour for the girl child, or emphasizing on the new aspect of ‘less cash economy’! Many a resolve such as these came into being on account of our conversations & chats through Mann Ki Baat. And, you have been the ones who strengthened that.
    • I have received a lovely letter, written by Shriman Shailesh from Bihar. In fact, he no longer stays in Bihar. He says, he stays in Delhi, working for an NGO. Shailesh writes, “Modi ji, you appeal to us on one point or the other, in every episode of Mann Ki Baat. I have implemented many of them in letter & spirit. This winter, I collected warm clothes from people, going home to home and distributed them to the needy. Taking a cue from Mann Ki Baat, I have embarked upon many initiatives. But gradually, I began forgetting… certain things started fading away. This new year, I have made a Charter pertaining to Mann Ki Baat, consisting of a list of all these, just the way people make resolutions at the onset of the New Year. Modi ji, this is my social resolution for this new year. I feel there are many little things that can usher in a big change. Can you inscribe your autograph on this Charter and arrange to send it back to me?” Well, Shailesh ji, heartiest congratulations and many good wishes to you. The Mann Ki Baat Charter in connection with your New Year resolution is very innovative. I shall certainly send it back to you, along with my best wishes inscribed. Friends, when I was glancing through this ‘Mann Ki Baat Charter’, I was taken aback at the magnitude of its contents… a multitude of hash tags. And, of course, we have striven together on myriad endeavours. There have been times when we tried to establish a stronger emotional connect with our soldiers through the campaign ‘Sandesh to Soldiers’; we have also catapulted sales of Khadi with ‘Khadi for Nation- Khadi for Fashion’. We internalized the Mantra of ‘buy local’. Through ‘Hum Fit toh India Fit’, we enhanced awareness, towards fitness. We turned sanitation into a mass movement, through the endeavours of ‘My clean India’ or ‘Statue Cleaning’. #‘No to Drugs’, #‘Bharat Ki Lakshmi’, #‘Self for Society’, #‘Stress free Exams’, #‘Suraksha- Bandhan’ #‘Digital Economy’, #‘Road Safety’…. Oh, the list is endless.
    • Shailesh ji, you must have realized after going through this Mann Ki Baat Charter that the list is indeed long! Come, let us continue this journey. Do join any cause of your choice listed in the Mann Ki Baat Charter. Using the hashtag, proudly share your contribution with one & all. Try motivating friends & family. When every Indian takes a step forward, it results in India going ahead by a 130 crore steps. And that’s why, it is said “Charaivetee, charaivetee, charaivetee…” Keep walking, keep marching, keep advancing! Your endeavour should revolve around that Mantra.
    • My dear countrymen, we touched upon the Mann Ki Baat Charter. The ethos of public participation, besides in the area of sanitation, is rising rapidly on another front… and that is water conservation. Quite a few extensive & innovative efforts are under way, in every corner of the country, for the sake of conserving water. It gives me joy to let you know that the Jal-Shakti Campaign that commenced last monsoon is taking rapid, successful strides with the aid of public participation. A large number of lakes & ponds have been built. And the best part is that in this campaign, people from all strata of society contributed wholeheartedly. Take for instance Jalore district in Rajasthan. There, two historical step wells had turned into storehouses of garbage & dirty water. But one fine day, hundreds of people from Bhadraayun & Thanawala Panchayats took a resolve to rejuvenate them, under the Jal Shakti Campaign. Much before the rains, people immersed themselves in the task of cleaning out the accumulated filthy water, garbage and morass. For this campaign, some donated money; others their labour & sweat. As a result, these step wells have turned into their lifelines now. A similar story comes across from Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh.
    • Here, the Saraahi Lake, spread across 43 hectares was on the verge of breathing its last. But the villagers, through the power of their collective resolve pumped life into it. They did not let any deterrent enter in the way of this mammoth mission. Villages joined hands, one after the other. They built a one meter high embankment along all the four sides of the lake. The lake now is brimming with water; the surroundings wake up to the melody of the chirping of birds.
    • Village Suniyakot along the Almora-Haldwani highway in Uttarakhand has also emerged as a similar example of public participation. To tide over an acute water crisis, villagers took it upon themselves to ensure that water reached their village. There was no stopping to their resolve. People raised money among themselves. The plan was followed by collective donation of labour and from almost a kilometre away, a pipe was laid upto the village. A pumping station was set up. By and by, a two decade old agonizing problem came to an end. Whereas, a very innovative idea of harnessing a borewell for rainwater harvesting sprung up from Tamilnadu. The country is replete with innumerable such stories, of water conservation, lending more strength to the resolves of New India. Today the entire country is eager to hear similar accomplishments of our Jal Shakti champions. I urge you to share without fail, stories, photos & videos of such endeavours of water conservation and water harvesting undertaken by you or those around you using #Jalshakti4India.
    • My dear countrymen and especially all my young friends, today, through the forum of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, I congratulate the Government and the people of Assam for being the excellent hosts of ‘Khelo India’. Friends, on 22ndJanuary, the third ‘Khelo India Games’ concluded in Guwahati. These games had around 6 thousand players from different states participating. You will be surprised to know that 80 records were broken during this grand sports festival. And I am proud that of these 80 records, 56 were broken by our daughters. These laurels have been recorded in the name of our daughters! I along with all the winners, congratulate all the participants. I also thank all the people, coaches and technical officers associated with ‘Khelo India Games’ for organising them successfully.
    • It is very pleasant for all of us to learn that the participation of athletes in ‘Khelo India Games’ is on the upsurge year after year. And this also tells you about the increasing inclination towards sports in our school children. I wish to tell all of you that in 2018, when ‘Khelo India Games’ were instituted, thirty-five hundred players took part, but in just three years the number of players has increased to more than 6 thousand, which translates to the fact that it has almost doubled. Not only this, in just three years, through ‘Khelo India Games’, thirty-two hundred gifted children have emerged on the sporting horizon! Many of these children grew up amidst dearth and poverty. The stories of the patience and determination of these children who participated in ‘Khelo India Games’ as well as their parents will inspire every Indian. Now take the example of Purnima Mandal of Guwahati, a sanitation worker in Guwahati Municipal Corporation! But whereas her daughter Malvika showed her mettle in football, one of her sons Sujit represented Assam in Kho-Kho, while the other son Pradeep did the same in hockey.
    • Somewhat similar is the story of Yogananthan of Tamil Nadu which fills you with great pride! Yogananthanmakesbeedis in Tamil Nadu, but his daughter Purnashree won everyone’s heart by bagging the Gold Medal in Weight Lifting. If I now take the name of David Beckham, you will think whether I’m referring to the legendary International Footballer. But now we also have a David Beckham amidst us and he has won a gold medal at the Youth Games in Guwahati. That too in the 200-meter Sprint event in Cycling! And for me this means double joy. You know, some time ago I had visited Andaman-Nicobar Islands! There was David, a denizen of Car-Nicobar who had lost his parents while he was an infant! His uncle wanted him to become a footballer, and hence had named him after the famous footballer. But young David was obsessed with cycling. He was selected under the ‘Khelo India’ scheme and today you can witness for yourself that he has created a new record in cycling.
    • Prashant Singh Kanhaiya of Bhiwani broke his own national record in the Pole vault event. Prashant, 19, hails from an agrarian family. You will be surprised to know that Prashant used to practice Pole vault on clay! After knowing this amazing fact, the Sports Department helped his coach to run the academy at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi and today Prashant is being coached there.
    • The never say die story of Kareena Shankta of Mumbai inspires everyone. Kareena competed in the 100 metre breast-stroke event in swimming, won the gold medal in the Under-17 category and also set a new national record. However there was a time for Kareena, a 10thstandard student when she had to forego her training due to a knee injury. But Kareena and her mother did not lose courage and the result of that fortitude is evident in front of all of us today. I wish all the players a bright future. Along with this, I also, on behalf of all our countrymen, bow in honouring those parents, who did not permit poverty to become a hurdle for the future of their children. We all know that National Games is an arena, where players get a chance to display their passion besides becoming acquainted with the culture of other states. Therefore, we have decided to organize ‘Khelo India University Games’ every year on the pattern of ‘Khelo India Youth Games’.
    • Friends, next month, the first edition of ‘Khelo India University Games’ is being organized in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, Odisha from 22nd February to 1st And more than 3000 players have qualified for participating in these games.
    • My dear countrymen, the exam season has arrived, and obviously all the students will be busy giving final shape to their preparations. After my experience with millions of students of the country through the platform of ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’, I can say with confidence that the youth of the country is brimming with self-confidence and is ready to face every challenge.
    • Friends, on the one hand, we are facing examinations; on the other, the winter season. Betwixt these two I urge you to try & keep fit. Do some exercises or play a little! Sports & games is the key to keeping fit. By the way, these days, I see that many events pertaining to ‘Fit India’ are being organised. On January 18, our young friends organized a Cyclothon throughout the country. Millions of countrymen participating in this Cyclothon spread the message of fitness. Efforts to ensure that our New India remains fit that are evident at every level fills us with fervour & enthusiasm. The ‘Fit India School’ campaign, which started in November last year, is also bringing results. I have been told that till date, more than 65,000 schools have obtained the ‘Fit India School’ certificates through online registration. I urge the rest of the schools in the country to integrate physical activity and sports with education and ensure that they become a ‘fit school’. Also concomitantly, I appeal to all countrymen to promote more physical activity in their daily routine. Remind yourself every day that if we are fit India is fit!
    • My dear countrymen, a couple of weeks ago, different parts of India were celebrating a variety of festivals. When Punjab was spreading the warmth of enthusiasm by celebrating Lohri, sisters and borthers of Tamil Nadu were celebrating Pongal and birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar. Assam was aglow with the fascinating lustre of Bihu. In Gujarat, everywhere you could see kites in the sky and the pomp of Uttaraayan. In such an atmosphere, Delhi witnessed a historic event. A significant agreement was signed in Delhi. With it, the close-to-25-year-old Bru-Reang refugee crisis, a painful chapter, was put to an end forever and ever. Due to the busy routine and festive season, you might not have been able to learn about this historic agreement in detail. So I thought, I should definitely discuss this in Mann ki Baat. This problem pertains to the 90s. In 1997, ethnic tension forced the Bru-Reang tribe to leave Mizoram and take refuge in Tripura. These refugees were kept in temporary camps in Kanchanpur in North Tripura. It’s painful that the Bru-Reang community lost a significant part of their life as refugees. Life in camps meant that they were deprived of all basic amenities. For 23 years – no home, no land, no medical treatment for their families, no education facilities for their kids. Just imagine, how difficult it must have been for them to live 23 long years in trying circumstances in camps! How painful it would have been to spend every moment, every day of their lives hurtling towards an uncertain future! Governments came and went, but there was no cure for their pain. Despite that, their unwavering belief in the Indian Constitution and culture continued. It’s a result of that belief that their life is on the threshold of a new dawn today. As per the agreement, the path to a dignified life has been opened for them. Finally the new decade of 2020, has brought a new ray of hope in the life of the Bru-Reang community. Around 34000 Bru refugees will be rehabilitated in Tripura. Not just that, the government will provide an assistance of close to Rs.600 crores for their rehabilitation and all-round development. Each displaced family will be provided a plot of land. They will be assisted in construction of a house. In addition, rations will be provided to them. They will now be able to benefit from the public welfare schemes of the state and central governments. This agreement is special for many reasons. It symbolises the spirit of cooperative federalism. The Chief Ministers of both Mizoram and Tripura were present during the signing of the agreement. This agreement was made possible only because of the consent and good wishes of people from both the states. I would like to especially express my gratitude to the people and the Chief Ministers of both the states for making this possible. This agreement also epitomises the inherent compassion and sensitivity of Indian culture. Considering everyone as its own and living with the spirit of togetherness is embedded in the ethos of this holy land. I would once again like to congratulate the residents of these states and the Bru-Reang community.
    • My dear countrymen, Assam, which hosted the grand ‘Khelo India’ games successfully, was witness to another great achievement. You might also have seen it in the news, that a few days ago, 644 militants pertaining to 8 different militant groups, surrendered with their weapons. Those who had strayed twards the path of violence, have expressed their faith in peace and decided to become a partner in the country’s progress and return to the mainstream. Last year, in Tripura as well, more than 80 people left the path of violence and returned to the mainstream. Those who had picked up weapons thinking that violence could solve problems, now firmly believe that the only way to solve any dispute is peace and togetherness. Countrymen will be thrilled to know that insurgency in the North-East has considerably reduced. And the biggest reason for that is that every issue of this region is being honestly and peacefully solved through dialogue. On the solemn occasion of Republic day, I would appeal to anyone in any part of the country, who’s still seeking solutions to problems through violence and weapons, to return to the mainstream. They should have faith in their own capabilities and the capabilities of this country to resolve issues peacefully. We live in the 21stcentury, that is the era of knowledge, science and democracy. Have you ever heard of a place where life has turned better due to violence? Have you ever heard of a place where peace and goodwill have been impediments in the quest of a good life? Violence never resolves any issue. No problem in the world can be solved by creating another problem. It can only be solved by seeking an optimal solution. Come, let’s together forge a new India, where every issue is resolved on a platform of peace. Solidarity should be the key to resolving every issue. And brotherhood, should foil every separatist attempt to divide us.
    • My dear countrymen, on the solemn occasion of Republic Day, it gives me great joy to tell you about ‘Gaganyaan’. The country has taken another step towards this goal. In 2022, we will be celebrating 75 years of Independence. And on that occasion, we have to fulfil the pledge to take an Indian into space through the Gaganyaan mission. Gaganyaan mission will be a historic achievement in the field of science and technology for India in the 21st It will prove to be a milestone for New India.
    • Friends, you would be aware that four candidates have been already selected as astronauts for this mission. All of them are pilots of the Indian Air Force. These promising youngsters symbolise India’s skill, talent, ability, courage and dreams. Our four friends are about to go to Russia in a few days for their training. I am confident that this would script another golden chapter in India-Russia friendship and cooperation. They will be trained for over a year. After that, the responsibility of carrying the hopes and aspirations of the nation and soaring into space, will rest on the shoulders of one of them. On the auspicious occasion of Republic Day, I congratulate these four youngsters and the Indian and Russian scientists and engineers associated with this mission.
    • My dear countrymen, in March last year, a video had become the centre of attention in the media and the social media. The buzz was about how a 107 year old elderly motherly figure broke the protocol to bless the President. This lady was Saalumarada Timmakka (सालुमरदअ तिम्मक्कअ), who is famous in Karnataka as ‘Vriksha Maataa’ (Tree Mother). And the ceremony was the Padma Awards distribution. The country recognised and honoured the extraordinary contribution of Timmakka who comes from an ordinary background. She was being decorated with the Padma Shri award ceremony.
    • Friends, today India feels proud of such great personalities and feels honoured to honour such down to earth, rooted individuals. Like every year, last evening Padma awards were announced. I urge you to read up about each of the awardees. Discuss their contribution with your family. This year over 46000 nominations were received for the 2020 Padma awards. This number is more than 20 times the number of nominations received in 2014. This statistic reveals the faith of every one of us and tells us that the Padma Awards have now become the Peoples’ awards. The entire process of the Padma Awards is now completed online. Earlier, the decision was taken by a select few. Now, it’s completely people driven. We could even say that there is now a new found faith and respect for these awards in the country. Many among the awardees are those who have risen from the bottom of the pyramid through dint of their hard work. They have overcome limitations of resources and a terrible atmosphere of despair around them and forged ahead. In fact, their strong resolve, spirit of selfless service, inspires us all. Once again, I would like to congratulate all the Padma award recipients. I urge you to read up about them and gather more information. The extraordinary stories of their lives, will inspire the society in the true spirit.
    • My dear countrymen, once again many many good wishes for the Republic Day celebrations. May this new decade bring new resolve and new achievements for each of you, and for the country. And may India surely achieve the capabilities to fulfil the expectations that the world has from India. With this belief, come, let’s start a new decade. Let’s serve Mother India with a new found resolve. Many many thanks. Namaskar. (Goodbye).


    1. Rajya Sabha Committee calls for mandatory apps on all devices and filters to regulate children’s access to pornography content


    • The Adhoc Committee of the Rajya instituted by Chairman Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has made 40 far reaching recommendations to prevent sexual abuse of children and to contain access to and transmission of child pornography content on the social media. The report of the Committee was today presented by the Chairman of the Committee Shri Jai Ram Ramesh to Shri Naidu.

    The initiative of Shri Naidu in setting up of such a Committee to examine and report on an issue of such a wider social concern is the first of it’s kind and has been widely appreciated. Shri Jairam Ramesh in the Report of the Committee stated that it is a good model that can be followed from time to time to get members of Rajya Sabha to deliberate on pressing social issues.

    Expressing concern over the seriousness of the prevalence of the horrific social evil of child pornography, the Committee has recommended important amendments to the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and the Information Technology Act, 2000 besides technological, institutional, social and educational measures and state level initiatives to address the alarming issue of pornography on social media and its effects on children and the society as a whole.

    The 40 recommendations made by the Adhoc Committee relate to adoption of a broader definition of child pornography, controlling access for children to such content, containing generation and dissemination of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), making accountable the Internet Service Providers and online platforms for denying access to children and removing such obscene content from online sites besides monitoring, detection and removal of content, preventing under-age use of such content, enabling parents for early detection of accessing such content by children, enabling effective action by the governments and authorized agencies to take necessary preventive and penal measures etc.

    Noting that the purveyors of child pornography seem always to be one step ahead of the regulators, the Committee stressed on the need for implementation of its recommendations as an integrated package of measures and not piecemeal to have any value and impact. The Committee urged the Prime Minister to take up the subject of child pornography and the measures required to combat it in one of his forthcoming ‘Man Ki Baat’ broadcast besides taking the lead in building up a global political alliance to combat child pornography on social media like the International Solar Alliance initiative.

    The Committee has broadly sought to address two main issues viz., access of children to pornographic material on social media and circulation of pornographic material on social media in which children are abused. The major recommendations of the Committee has given as under:

    Legislative measures

    1. The Committee has recommended some important amendments to the POCSO Act, 2012 and the IT Act, 2000 with corresponding changes to be carried out in the Indian Penal Code;
    2. A clause to be inserted in the POCSO Act, 2012 under which advocating or counseling sexual activities with a person under the age of 18 years through any written material, visual representation or audio recording or any characterization is made an offence under the Act;
    • Another clause to be inserted in the POCSO Act, 2012 prescribing a Code of Conduct for intermediaries (online platforms) for maintaining child safety online, ensuring age appropriate content and curbing use of children for pornographic purposes;
    1. Under the POCSO Act, 2012, school management should be responsible for safety of children within schools, transportation services and any other programmes with which the school is associated;
    2. National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal shall be designated as the national portal under reporting requirements in POCSO Act in case of electronic material;
    3. A new section be included in the IT Act 2000, providing for punitive measures for those providing pornographic access to children and also those who access, produce or transmit Child Sexual Abuse Material(CSAM);
    • Union Government shall be empowered through its designated authority to block and/or prohibit all websites/intermediaries that carry child sexual abuse material;
    • IT Act to be modified making intermediaries responsible for all measures to proactively identify and remove CSAM as well as report it to Indian authorities as well besides the foreign authorities. Gateway Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) must bear a significant liability to detect and block CSAM websites. Intermediaries shall also be responsible to report to the designated authority, IP addresses/identities of all those searching/accessing child porn/CSAM key words;

    Technology measures

    1. Law enforcement agencies be permitted to brake end to end encryption to trace distributors of child pornography. Apps that help in monitoring children’s access to pornographic content shall be made mandatory on all devices sold in India. Such Apps or similar solutions to be developed and made freely available to ISP, companies, schools and parents;
    2. Ministry of Electronics and IT and Ministry of Home Affairs shall coordinate with Blockchain analysis companies to trace identities of users engaging in crypto currency transactions to purchase child pornography online. Online payment portals and credit cards be prohibited from processing payments for any pornographic website;
    3. ISPs shall be required to provide family friendly filters to parents at the point of sign up to regulate children’s access to internet content;
    • All social media platforms should be mandated with minimum essential technologies to detect Child Sexual Abuse Material besides regular reporting to law enforcement agencies in the country;
    • On-streaming platforms like Netflix and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook etc. should have separate adult section where under- aged children could be disallowed;
    • Social media shall have mechanism for age verification and restricting access to objectionable/obscene material;

    Institutional measures

    1. The Committee recommended an upgraded and technologically empowered National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR) to be designated as the nodal agency to deal with the issue of child pornography. NCPCR should have necessary technological, cyber policing and prosecution capabilities;
    • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shall mandatorily record and report annually cases of child pornography of all kinds. A national Tipline Number should be created where child sexual abuse as well as distribution of child pornographic material can be reported by concerned citizens;

    Social and Educational measures

    • Ministries of Women and Child Development and Information and Broadcasting shall launch campaigns for greater awareness among parents to recognize early signs of child abuse, online risks and improving online safety for their child. Schools shall undertake training programmes for parents at least twice a year, making them aware of hazards for children of free access to smart phones, internet at an early age. Based on the experiences of other countries, a proper practicable policy for restricting use of smart phones by under aged kids needs to be considered;

    State level implementation

    • The committee recommended that each State and Union Territory shall have empowered State Commission for the Protection for Child Rights mirroring capabilities and capacities of the NCPCR. E-safety Commissioners be appointed at state level to ensure implementation of social media and website guidelines relating to removal of pornographic content, age verification, issuing warnings etc.


    • The 14-member Committee including 7 women members of Rajya Sabha was set up by Shri Venkaiah Naidu on December 12 last year further to some members voicing concern over widespread misuse of social media for accessing pornographic content and child abuse.
    • The Committee heard the views of the Ministries of Women and Child Development, Electronics and IT and Home Affairs besides NCPCR and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and other stakeholders like Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Bytedance(TikTok), Twitter and Sharechat.
    • The Committee also received representations from 3 NGOs viz., HERD Educational & Medical Research Foundation, Nagpur, Centre for Child Rights, New Delhi and Internet Freedom Foundation, New Delhi.


    1. President of India Graces National Voters’ Day Celebrations



    • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, graced and addressed the 10th National Voters’ Day Celebrations, being organised by the Election Commission of India, today (January 25, 2020) in New Delhi.
    • Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the National Voters’ Day is being celebrated every year to spread awareness among the people about the use of franchise and to increase their participation in our democracy through voting. He was happy to note that Voters’ Day is not only celebrated at the national level but also at the state, district and polling station level.
    • The President praised the Election Commission for making special efforts to make polling easier for disabled people, senior citizens and women. He noted that a nationwide list of disabled people has been made to provide them special facilities. He was happy to note that the postal voting facility has also been made available to disabled people.
    • The President said that democracy becomes stronger and makes progress with the participation of everyone. He was happy to note that to increase the participation of voters, systematic efforts are being made by the Election Commission under the ‘Electoral Literacy for Strong Democracy’ program.


    1. Ministry of AYUSH Issues Notice of Caution to AYUSH Professionals on “Recruitment Fraud”



    • The public in general and AYUSH professionals in particular are hereby cautioned that in recent past, some fraudulent/ suspicious advertisements for recruitment of AYUSH professionals have come up in the electronic media which seek to draw out payment in the form of “Registration Fees” etc. from gullible individuals. Such fraudulent/ suspicious notices are issued typically by agencies with misleading names that sound like government bodies, and seek to elicit payments (described as “fees” of various types) through online payment methods.
    • One such fraudulent/ suspicious advertisement that has come to the notice of the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India appeared on the blog-publishing platform “Blogspot” in the name of AYUSHGRAM BHARAT, which claims to be the NRHM WELLNESS CENTER INDIA. The link to the advertisement is https://ayushgrambharat.blogspot.com/2020/01/welcome-to-ayushgram-bharat-nrhm.html
    • While the Ministry of AYUSH will seek appropriate administrative and legal action in the matter, the public in general and AYUSH professionals in particular are hereby requested to note that the recruitment process followed by the Ministry of AYUSH and its subordinate organisations always follow the formal procedures prescribed by the Government of India, and are accompanied by formal announcements in the official websites (which are hosted on the NIC/ gov.in platform) of the respective organisations.
    • The Ministry hereby cautions all concerned that the Ministry of AYUSH has no connection whatsoever to the aforesaid recruitment announcement by individuals / recruitment agencies who are misguiding job-seekers by promising them government positions. Further, they are also seen to be un-authorisedly using logo/ images belonging to the Government of India as well as fake address similar to that of the Ministry to mislead the people.
    • The public in general and AYUSH professionals in particular are hereby advised to kindly cross-check the facts stated in such advertisements and verify the identity/ authenticity of individuals / recruitment agencies who issue such advertisements, before responding to them.


    1. 10th National Voters’ Day celebrated to mark the Foundation Day of ECI


    • The 10th National Voters’ Day (NVD) was celebrated across the country today. President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind presided over the national level event held at New Delhi. Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology also graced the event as the Guest of Honour. The Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora, Election Commissioners Shri Ashok Lavasa and Shri Sushil Chandra, Secretary General Shri Umesh Sinha and Director General Shri Dharmendra Sharma received the dignitaries on the occasion.
    • The theme for NVD 2020 was ‘Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy’ reiterating the commitment of Election Commission of India (ECI) towards electoral literacy for all to ensure maximum participation and informed & ethical voting. This year marks an important milestone in the history of Indian democracy as Election Commission of India (ECI) completes 70 years of its journey.
    • President Sh. Ram Nath Kovind hailed the varied interventions taken up by ECI for the successful conduct of the 17thLok Sabha Election in a free, fair and transparent manner. The President particularly appreciated the initiatives for reaching out to voters in the remotest corner to include their names in the electoral roll and to encourage them to exercise the Right to Vote, resulting in the historic voter turnout of 67.47%.He congratulated the new six new voters particularly who were given the Electoral Photo Identity Cards today. The President also particularly mentioned the Universal Adult Suffrage principle which helped all Indian eligible citizens to vote from the very beginning of the journey of Indian republic. Shri Kovind also took note of the special efforts undertaken by Election Commission of India to ensure that the gender gap was reduced to less than 0.1% in the last Lok Sabha General Election. He particularly lauded the Electoral Literacy Clubs’ efforts and use of vernacular language in reaching out to even in the remotest areas.
    • On this occasion, the President gave away the National Awardsfor the Best Electoral Practices to Officers for their outstanding performance in the conduct of elections in different spheres. The district administrative and Security Officers were lauded for their efforts to ensure enrollment of new eligible voters with sustained efforts, launch of SVEEP Apps to facilitate polling experience, conduct of elections with innovative means, facilitating Persons with Disabilities at polling booths as also working amidst challenging circumstances such as severe cyclonic storm or coordinating security grid mechanisms. In addition, awards were also conferred on CSOs, Govt. Departments and Media Houses for their outstanding contribution in the field of voter awareness and outreach.
    • Two books were launched by Union Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad and presented to the Hon’ble President. The first book was Belief in the Ballot-II, an anthology of 101 human stories from across the nation about Indian elections. An amalgamation of daring, interesting and inspiring stories of both election officers and voters, this anthology presents experiences of courage, sacrifice and dedication of the election personnel as well as the enthusiasm and commitment of the voters.
    • The second book launched was The Centenarian Voters: Sentinels of Our Democracy. This collection enumerates the stories and experiences of 51 centenarians across India, who braved difficult terrain, poor health and other challenges to come out and vote.
    • Chief Election Commissioners and senior officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tunisia graced the occasion. Reputed international organisations working in elections such as A-WEB, IFES and International IDEA were also a part of the occasion. Members of Political Parties, Members of Parliament besides Diplomats from various countries and representatives from national and international organizations working in the area of democracy and elections also attended the national function.
    • The National Voters’ Day (NVD) is celebrated all over the country on January 25 every year since 2011 to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on this day in the year 1950. This year, the celebrations were spread over three days to mark the 70 illustrious years of ECI establishment. On 23rdJanuary, the Commission organized the first ever annual lecture series in memory of the first Chief Election Commissioner of India, Shri Sukumar Sen. Hon’ble former President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee, delivered the keynote lecture. On 24th January, an International Conference on “Strengthening Institutional Capacity” was organised.
    • The main purpose of the NVD celebration is to encourage, facilitate and maximize the enrollment, especially for the new voters. Dedicated to the voters of the country, the Day is utilized to spread awareness among voters for promoting informed participation in the electoral process.



    1. Farooq Khan unfurls tricolour at Republic Day celebration in Srinagar



    • In Kashmir, the main function of Republic Day was held at Srinagar’s SK Cricket Stadium where Advisor to the Lt Governor, Farooq Khan, unfurled the tricolour and took the salute of the parade.
    • Various administrative heads also unfurled the national flag and took salute of March passes in their respective districts. Contingents of J&K Police, CRPF, IRP, BSF, Fire and Emergency Services, NCC cadets, school children and others took part in the march pass at SK Stadium and other venues.
    • In his R-Day speech, Mr Khan said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, are focussed on the development of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that the Central and the J&K governments are determined to improve the road and rail connectivity here besides improving the overall education system.
    • He praised the role of Jammu and Kashmir police and other security agencies for their role in marinating peace across the Union Territory especially Kashmir. He also expressed satisfaction over the role of administration in providing services to the people during this harsh winter. Mr Khan sought support from all stakeholders for bringing ever-lasting peace in the Union territory.
    • A multi-tier security setup was put in place in and around all the venues hosting the R-Day functions.
    • As a precautionary measure, mobile phone service was suspended temporarily.


    1. Government announces 141 Padma Awards for this year on occasion of 71st Republic Day


    • The government has announced 141 Padma Awards for this year on the occasion of 71st Republic Day. The list comprises of 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhusan and 118 Padma Shri awards. 34 awardees are women and 18 foreigners. 12 persons are awarded posthumously.
    • Former Union Ministers George Fernandes, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley will be awarded Padma Vibhushan posthumously. Pejavara math seer late Vishveshateertha Swamiji will be awarded Padma Vibhushan posthumously. Former Prime Minister of Mauritius Anerood Jugnauth, Hindustani classical vocalist Chhannulal Mishra and Boxer MC Mary Kom will also get Padma Vibhushan.
    • Former Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar and Legal luminary and educator NR Madhava Menon to be conferred Padma Bhushan posthumously. Eminent Writer Manoj Das, Shuttler PV Sindhu, industrialist Anand Mahindra will get Padma Bhushan.
    • Footballer Oinem Bembem Devi, Film Director Karan Johar, Actress Kangna Ranaut will get Padma Shri.
    • Several unsung heroes like Jagdish Lal Ahuja, Javed Ahmad Tak, Tulasi Gowda, Mohammed Sharif, Satyanayana Mundayoor, S Ramakrishna and Yogi Aeron have been selected for Padma Shri.
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated all those who have been selected for Padma Awards. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, the awardees include extraordinary individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the society, nation and humanity.





    1. 71st Republic Day celebrated with patriotic fervor in Nepal

    • Republic Day of India is being celebrated with patriotic fervor in Nepal. The main function was held at the Embassy of India in Kathmandu, where Charge d’ Affaires Dr. Ajay Kumar unfurled the tricolor.
    • hundreds of Indian nationals and friends of India enthusiastically participated in the Republic Day celebrations. After hoisting national flag Dr. Ajay Kumar read out the President’s message. He felicitated a Veer Nari, eight widows and five next of kins of deceased soldiers by disbursing their dues worth 5.97 Crore Nepali rupees and a blanket to each.
    • The Indian Embassy gifted books to 51 libraries and educational institutions spread across all seven provinces of Nepal. On this occasion, 30 ambulances and 6 buses were also gifted to various hospitals, non-profit charitable organizations and educational institutions of Nepal, thereby reaffirming the Government of India’s commitment to partner with Nepal in its journey towards socio-economic development.
    • The Government of India has so far gifted 782 ambulances and 154 buses to various hospitals, non-profit charitable organizations and educational institutions of 77 districts in Nepal, expanding healthcare access for thousands of Nepali people and serving to the educational needs of the thousands of students.
    • The students of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre Kathmandu, Kendriya Vidyalaya and Modern Indian School added colors in patriotic fervor with their spectacular performances. The ceremony concluded with a mesmerizing performance by the Nepal Army Band. Later in the day, Charge d’ Affaires Dr. Ajay Kumar hosted a reception at India House.  Vice President of Nepal Nanda Bahadur Pun graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Over 1500 dignitaries, including senior political leaders and public personalities attended the reception.
    • In Birgunj, Consul General of India, Nitesh Kumar unfurled the tri-color. A large number of Indian expats also joined the Republic Day celebrations.



    1. Two Sri Lankan women receive Padma awards


    • Among the Padma Shri award recipients this year are two women from Sri Lanka for their pioneering contributions in their individual fields and for strengthening India-Sri Lanka ties. The awards have been conferred on Deshabandu Dr. Vajira Chitrasena for her contribution to dance and Late Prof. Indra Dassanayake for her contribution to Hindi literature.
    • Vajira Chitrasena is considered a living legend of Sri Lankan dance and at the age of 87, she heads the Chitrasena-Vajira Dance foundation and has been adorned with one of Sri Lanka’s highest national awards Deshabandhu among many other awards. She has uniquely contributed to enriching India-Sri Lanka relations through the promotion of dance and blending the art forms of both countries especially the Kandyan and Odissi dance forms. She and her guru husband Chitrasena, together with the Chitrasena Dance Company undertook various visits to India between 1959 to 1998.
    • The connection established by Chitrasena and Vajira with India has continued to flourish and culminated in a remarkable recent collaboration between the Chitrasena dance Company and Nrityagram, an Indian dance ensemble of Odissi.  Their joint production ‘Samhara’  combined the highly masculine and earthy Kandyan dance with the distinctly sensual and restrained Odissi with the production drawing critical acclaim and rave reviews.
    • The other Padma Shri recipient late Professor Indra Dassanayake was a renowned Professor of Hindi at Kelaniya University. Born in India in 1943, she was an alumnus of University of Lucknow. Prof. Dassanayake was one of the pioneers to introduce and promote Hindi language in educational institutions of Sri Lanka. Incidentally, she participated in the first World Hindi Conference at Nagpur in 1975. Due to her efforts , Hindi is taught in more than 80 institutions and schools of Sri Lanka apart from six major universities at present. Recognizing her contribution, Prof. Dassanayake was also honoured with the prestigious Dr. George Grierson Hindi Sevi Samman for 2005 at New Delhi in the World Hindi Conference in 2007. She breathed her last at Colombo in September last year.
    • Previously, in 2002, Government of India had honoured the legendary Sri Lankan musician and Magsaysay award winner WD Amaradeva with Padma Shri for his contribution to strengthening India-Sri Lanka musical ties.



    1. List of MoUs/Agreements exchanged during State Visit of President of Brazil to India



    Sl.NoMoU/AgreementExchanged from Indian side byExchanged from Brazilian side byExchanged/Announced
    1.MoU between the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Bioenergy CooperationMr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Minister for Petroleum & Natural GasH.E. Mr. Bento Albuquerque, Minister of Mines and EnergyExchanged & Announced
    2.MoU for Cooperation in the field of Oil and Natural Gas b/w Ministry Of Petroleum And Natural Gas of the Government of the Republic of India and Ministry of Mines and Energy of the Government of the Federative Republic of BrazilMr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Minister for Petroleum & Natural GasH.E. Mr. Bento Albuquerque, Minister of Mines and EnergyOnly Announced
    3.Investment Cooperation and Facilitation Treaty b/w the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of BrazilDr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs MinisterH.E. Mr. Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign AffairsExchanged & Announced
    4.Agreement between the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs MinisterH.E. Mr. Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign AffairsOnly Announced
    5.MoU between the Ministry of Women and Child Development of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Citizenship of the Federative Republic of Brazil in the field of Early ChildhoodMr. V. Muraleedharan
    Minister of State for External Affairs
    H.E. Mr. Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign AffairsOnly Announced
    6.MoU between the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Health of the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil on Cooperation in the field of Health and MedicineMr. V. Muraleedharan
    Minister of State for External Affairs
    H.E. Mr. Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign AffairsExchanged & Announced
    7.MoU between the Ministry of AYUSH of the Government Republic of India and the Ministry of Health of the Federative Republic of Brazil on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.Mr. V. Muraleedharan
    Minister of State for External Affairs
    H.E. Mr. Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign AffairsOnly Announced
    8.Cultural Exchange Programme b/w the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil for the period 2020-2024Mr. Vijay Gokhale, Foreign SecretaryH.E. Mr. Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign AffairsExchanged & Announced
    9.Agreement on Social Security b/w the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil.Ms. Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East), MEAH.E. Mr. Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign AffairsExchanged & Announced
    10.MoU on Cooperation between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) of the Republic of India and the General Coordination of Network Incident Treatment Centre, Department of Information Security, Institutional Security, Cabinet of the Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil (CGCTIR/DSI/GSI) on cooperation in the area of Cyber Security.Ms. Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East), MEAH.E. Mr. Augusto Heleno, Minister Chief of the Institutional Security OfficeExchanged & Announced
    11.Programme of Scientific and Technological Cooperation for implementing the agreement on scientific and technological cooperation b/w the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Republic of India (2020-2023)Ms. Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East), MEAH.E. Mr. Marcos Pontes, Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and CommunicationExchanged & Announced
    12.MoU on Cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Resources between Geological Survey of India (GSI), Ministry of Mines of the Republic of India and the Geological Survey of Brazil- CPRM, Ministry of Mines and Energy of the Federative Republic of BrazilMs. Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East), MEAH.E. Mr. Bento Albuquerque, Minister of Mines and EnergyExchanged & Announced
    13.MoU between Invest India and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex Brazil)Ms. Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East), MEAMr. Sérgio Segovia, President of APEX-BrasilExchanged & Announced
    14.Joint Declaration of Intent between Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply of the Federative Republic of Brazil for Cooperation in the fields of Animal Husbandry and DairyingShri Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Animal HusbandryMr. Jorge Seif Junior, Secretary of Aquiculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply.Exchanged & Announced
    15.MoU between Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. Of the Republic of India and Centro Nacional de PesquisaemEnergia e Materiais (CNPEM) on Cooperation for establishing a nodal institution in India to carry out research on BioenergyMr. Sanjiv Singh, Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL)H.E. Mr. Marcos Pontes, Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and CommunicationExchanged & Announced



    1. Israel officially allows its citizens to visit Saudi Arabia

    • Israel today officially gave its citizens the right to travel to Saudi Arabia for religious and business visits, in the latest sign of warming ties between the two countries.
    • The interior ministry’s announcement will have limited practical impact, as Israelis had previously been travelling to Saudi Arabia via third countries, especially Jordan.
    • But Israel had never granted official approval for such travel by its citizens.
    • Interior Minister Aryeh Deri signed for the first time an order enabling an exit permit for Israelis to Saudi Arabia. In a statement, the ministry said, the move, coordinated with the security and diplomatic services, approves travel to the Gulf state for religious purposes during the hajj and the Umrah.
    • It said, Israel would also allow its citizens to travel to Saudi Arabia to participate in business meetings or seek investments for trips not exceeding 90 days.


    1. Canada hospital says it has confirmed case of deadly coronavirus

    • In Canada, a Toronto hospital said that it has a confirmed case of the deadly coronavirus from China, Canada’s first. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre said, it is caring for a patient who has a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. Officials said the man is in his 50s and recently flew from Wuhan, to Guangzhou in China and then on to Toronto on January 23.
    • The outbreak of the new virus originated in China, has spread worldwide. Australia and Malaysia reported their first cases yesterday – four each -and Japan, its third. France confirmed three cases on Friday, the first in Europe, and the US identified its second, a woman in Chicago who had returned from China.





    1. India’s Federation Cup games moved from virus-hit China to Kazakhstan

    • The Indian Federation Cup team today heaved a sigh of relief after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) shifted the Federation Cup matches from the Coronavirus-hit China to Kazakhstan.
    • Concerned for its players’ health due to a medical emergency in China, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) had written to the ITF, requesting the world governing body to consider either shifting the venue or postponing the tournament. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Dongguan from 4th of next month.
    • After rejecting their request twice, the ITF finally intimated AITA this afternoon that matches have been shifted out of China. India will compete with China, Indonesia, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan in the Asia/Oceania Group I contest.



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