• Current Affairs , 9th JANUARY 2020

    • January 9, 2020
    • Posted By : upliftlife
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    1. Press Brief on Operation Sankalp


    • In the backdrop of the deteriorating security situation in the Gulf region, post attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Oman in Jun 19, Indian Navy had commenced Maritime Security Operations, code named Op SANKALP, in the Gulf Region on 19 Jun 19 to ensure safe passage of Indian Flag Vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz.
    • Indian Navy warships and aircraft were deployed to establish presence, provide a sense of reassurance to the Indian merchantmen, monitor the ongoing situation and respond to any emergent crises. One war ship is presently deployed for Operation SANKALP.
    • The operation is being progressed in close coordination with all stakeholders including Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and DG, Shipping. Regular Inter-Ministerial meetings have been held to review the evolving Maritime Security Situation in the Gulf region.
    • Indian Navy continues to monitor the situation in the Gulf region and is maintaining presence in the region to ensure security of our sea borne trade and the safety of Indian Flag Merchant Vessels transiting through the region. The Indian Navy stands committed to protection of the nation’s maritime interests.


    1. JNU Vice Chancellor meets HRD Secretary in New Delhi on steps to bring normalcy in the campus


    • Jawaharlal Nehru University, Vice-Chancellor, Jagdesh Kumar today met Human Resource, Secretary (Higher Education), Amit Khare in New Delhi. The meeting came in the wake of violence in JNU campus.


    • AIR correspondent reports,  Mr Kumar briefed HRD secretary about the steps being taken at JNU to bring normalcy.
    • Mr Kumar later said, all efforts are being made to facilitate winter semester registration for willing students and a conducive environment for their academic pursuits.


    1. CBI tells SC no evidence of murder of girls in Muzaffarpur shelter home; skeletons found were not of inmate girls


    • The CBI informed Supreme Court that there was no evidence of murder of children at the Muzaffarpur shelter home in Bihar. The agency told the top court that forensic investigation disregarded the two recovered skeletons.
    • These have been found to be that of a woman and a man.
    • A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde accepted the status report of the CBI. It also allowed two officers to be relieved from the investigation team.
    • Attorney General KK Venugopal was appearing for the probe agency. He said, investigation was done on rape and sexual assault allegations and charge sheets have been filed before the courts concerned. He added that the children, who were alleged to be murdered, were later traced and found to be alive.
    • He said that CBI has investigated cases of 17 shelter homes in Bihar and charge sheet has been filed in 13 of them. Meanwhile, in four cases the preliminary inquiry was conducted and later closed as no evidence was found.


      1. MHA issues Revised Guidelines for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters


    • In furtherance to Government of India’s policy of zero tolerance for crime and in an endeavor to fast track the dispensation of justice, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has taken steps to enhance and streamline the process of international mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. The MHA has issued Revised Guidelines for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters in December 2019.
    • The revised guidelines provide step-by-step guidance to the investigation agencies for drafting and processing Letters Rogatory / Mutual Legal Assistance Requests and Service of Summons, Notices & other Judicial Documents. By incorporating various legal and technological developments in the recent years, it aims to make the documentation in this regard more precise and focused as well as compliant with International requirements.
    • The guidelines have also taken into account the concerns raised by various courts for prompt and timely responses in service of documents on persons residing abroad. As an initiative, the revised guidelines have provision for service of documents on authorities of foreign country preferably within 10 days of receipt of request in respect of offences committed against women and children.
    • Training in mutual legal assistance in criminal matters has also been taken up for investigators, prosecutors and judicial officers.
    • The transnational nature of crime and digital explosion has blurred geographical boundaries for criminal activities.  Availability of evidence and criminals outside the sovereign jurisdiction of countries has necessitated the transformation of scope and nature of conventional investigation.
    • India has entered into Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties/ Agreements with 42 countries and is signatory to various international conventions i.e. UNCAC, UNTOC etc. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is the designated ‘Central Authority’for India. Generally, assistance is sought and received in the form of Mutual Legal Assistance Requests/Letters Rogatory and Service of Summons/Notices/Judicial documents on persons residing abroad.
    • In order to streamline the process of rendering/ seeking such assistance, MHA had issued  guidelines regarding investigation abroad & issue of Letters Rogatory (LRs) in 2007 & regarding Service of Summons/Notices/ Judicial process on the persons residing abroad in 2009.
    • Over the decade, there have been substantial changes in International Cooperation based on new legislations, regulations & conventions and amendment in procedural laws all over the world including India.  These changes necessitated the need for comprehensive review of existing guidelines to keep them abreast the modern era requirements.



    1. PM Modi invites people’s ideas, suggestions about their demands and aspirations from upcoming Union Budget

    • In an effort to engage common people directly on their demands and aspirations from upcoming Union Budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited ideas and suggestions from them.
    • In a tweet today, Mr. Modi said, Union Budget represents the aspirations of 130 crore Indians and lays out the path towards India’s development. He invited people to send their suggestions on MyGov.in.
    • Earlier, the Finance Ministry had also urged people to share their valuable ideas in the field of agriculture, education and other sectors for the general budget 2020-21.
    • Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman already had pre-budget consultations with representatives of different sectors including health, education, banking, infrastructure, energy, rural development, agriculture as well as the leading economist and industry bodies.
    • The Union Budget is expected to be presented in the first week of next month.


      1. Indian Navy’s tableau for Republic Day Parade 2020 unveiled


    • The tableau of the Indian Navy, to be showcased at the Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2020 at Rajpath, was unveiled here today.The tableau is in pursuance of the Navy Week theme ‘Indian Navy – Silent, Strong, and Swift’.
    • The forward part of the tableau showcases the might and fire power of Navy in all three dimensions viz surface, sub-surface and air. This is portrayed through models of state-of-the-art assets like Boeing P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft with Harpoon missiles, Kolkata class Stealth Destroyer displaying a Brahmos launch and Kalvari Class Submarine launching the Exocet missile.
    • On the trailer, the tableau showcases the indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant under construction at Cochin Shipyard Limited, along with its complement of MiG 29K Fighter Aircraft. This not only depicts the strength of the Indian Navy but is representative of the Navy’s total commitment to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government.
    • The benign role of the Navy in terms of safeguarding offshore economic assets as well as rendering Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) is portrayed through the murals on the sides. These depict flood relief operation undertaken in Maharashtra on Mahalaxml Express (Op Varsha Rahat) in July2019, escort operations undertaken in Persian Gulf (Op Sankalp) and defence of our oil platforms by Fast Attack Craft and employment of MARCOS.
    • Overall, the tableau aims to showcase the Navy as a credible and combat ready military force, which in service of the nation, protects its economic assets and providessuccour to its populace in times of crisis and natural calamities.
    • The officers who would be leading the Naval contingent as Contingent Commander, Platoon Commanders and the Naval Tableaux during the parade and the Drum Major who would be leading the Indian Naval Band were also introduced during the press preview.


    1. Eight North-Eastern states to participate in the Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat in April


    • The eight States of the Northern Eastern Region will participate in a big way during the Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat due to be held in the first week of April this year. The annual fair is held at Madhavpur Ghed in Porbandar district and the Mela this year will commence on 2ndApril, a day after the Ram Navami festival.
    • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh chaired a high level meeting with senior officials of the Gujarat Government here today to review preparations for the mega festival. Secretary, North Eastern Council (NEC), Shri Moses Chalai and senior officers of NEC, besides Resident Commissioners/representatives of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur also participated.
    • Dr Jitendra Singh directed the officials that besides Madhavpur, events including cultural performances, crafts display and food festivals of the NER region be showcased in other major cities of Gujarat including Ahmedabad to generate wider interest among the local population. He suggested that a logo bringing out the common links between Gujarat and the North-East be designed and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs), Song and Drama Division of Information & Broadcasting Ministry besides the concerned departments of the State Governments be actively involved in various activities.
    • A multimedia publicity campaign will be launched on March 1, 2020 to popularize the Madhavpur Mela. This will mark the cultural integration of Gujarat with the North-East under the Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat announced by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, he added.
    • The Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat shares its connect to the Mishmi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The Mishmi Tribe traces its ancestry to the legendary King Bhishmak and through him to his daughter Rukmini and Lord Krishna. The festival celebrates the immortal journey which Rukmini undertook from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat with Lord Krishna. Bhismaknagar, located near Roing in the lower Dibang Valley district, also finds mention in Kalika Purana.
    • The week-long ‘Utsav’ will see a vibrant cultural trail of art, dance, music, poetry, story-telling and folk drama from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and other North-Eastern States with the aim to integrate the rich cultures of the two regions.
    • Madhavpur Ghed, a small but culturally significant village, is the place where, according to folklore, Lord Krishna married Rukmini, the daughter of King Bhishmaka. Madhavpur lies on the seashore, close to Porbandar. A 15thcentury Madhavrai temple marks the site. This event is commemorated by a cultural fair held every year, commencing on Ram Navami. A colourful chariot carrying the idol of Lord Krishna circumnavigates the village and the festivities usually continue for five days.
    • Madhavpur Mela this year will witness magnificent folk cultural performances from the North-East, especially Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Troupes from Assam will perform Rukmini-Haran, a popular folk theatre of the region. Musical troupe from Manipur will sing songs related to Rukmini in the Khullong Ishei and Nat genŕe.  Dance-dramas based on Rukmini-Krishna legends from Arunachal and Manipur and folk dance of the Idu Mishmi tribe from Arunachal will be part of the varied repertoire.
    • An exposition and sale of art and crafts of Gujarat and handloom and handicrafts products from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and other North-Eastern states will be part of the event. A Visual Art Exhibition on Krishna and Rukmini put together by different institutions of Ministry of Culture like the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya highlighting the variegated legends of Krishna and Rukmini will be the main attraction.


    1. IP based Video Surveillance System being installed by Indian Railways at railway stations to enhance security


    • In order to enhance security at Railway stations which are major hubs of transportation, Indian Railways is in the process of installing Internet Protocol (IP) based Video Surveillance System (VSS) at stations, that is, waiting halls, reservation counters, parking areas, main entrance/ exit, platforms, foot over bridges, booking offices etc. Railway Board has approved works for provision of Video Surveillance System covering 983 stations over Indian Railways under Nirbhaya funds.
    • This year a budget of Rs. 250 crore was allotted to Indian Railways from Nirbhaya fund for installation of video surveillance system.
    • RailTel, a Miniratna PSU under Ministry of Railways, has been entrusted with the work of providing IP based VSS with video analytics and facial recognition system. To have a better coverage and clearer image, four types of Full HD Cameras – Dome type (for indoor areas), Bullet type (for platforms), Pan Tilt Zoom type (for parking areas) and Ultra HD- 4k cameras (for crucial locations) are being provided. CCTV camera live feeds are displayed on multiple screens at the Railway Protection Force (RPF) control room for monitoring. Each HD camera at the station consumes approximately 1TB of data and 4k camera consumes 4 TB data per month. The recording of the video feeds from CCTV cameras will be stored for 30 days for playback, post event analysis and for investigation purposes. Important videos can be stored for longer duration.
    • Talking about the project of providing Video Surveillance System, Shri Puneet Chawla, Chairman and Managing Director, RailTel said that in the first phase, VSS is being installed at 200 stations Pan India and as on date work has been completed at 81 stations across India. The Video Surveillance System will be extended to other stations and coaches soon. The work is being done utilizing the Nirbhaya fund for ensuring better safety for women.
    • In phase-I that is targeted for this year, South Western Railway (SWR) has recently commissioned Video Surveillance system (CCTV) at 6 major stations – Ballari by providing 33 Cameras, Belagavi with 36 Cameras, Vasco-Da Gama with 36 Cameras, Bengaluru Cantt with 21 Cameras, Bangarpet with 36 Cameras, Hassan with 36 Camera and at 3 Stations at Hassan, Shivamogga Town & Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam, work is under progress and will be commissioned shortly. Integrated security systems comprising CCTV have already been installed at 11 stations including Bengaluru with 71 Cameras, Yesvantpur with 35 Cameras, and Mysuru with 34 Cameras. With this SWR has functional CCTV at 17 locations and will complete the work in Phase-I by having CCTV functional at total 20 railway stations by end of January 2020. Security personnel can monitor these cameras not only from station control rooms but also from Central Security Control Rooms located at Divisional HQ, i.e, Hubballi, Mysuru and Bengaluru.
    • Internet Protocol (IP) based Video Surveillance System (VSS) has also been installed at 10Railway stations of Western Railway namely  Bhavnagar Terminus, Udhna, Valsad, Veraval, Nagda, Navsari, Vapi, Viragam, Rajkot, Gandhidham. This Video Surveillance System is expected to ensure better security of passengers at railway stations and railway property.




    1. Ukrainian airplane crashes shortly after takeoff from Tehran airport killing all 176 people on board


    • A Ukrainian airplane carrying 176 people crashed today, shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s main airport. State-run IRNA news agency said the crash killed all on board.
    • The plane had taken off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in the Iranian capital when a fire struck one of its engines.
    • A spokesman for Iran’s Road and Transportation authority said, the pilot of the aircraft then lost control of the plane, sending it crashing into the ground.
    • The plane carried 167 passengers and nine crew members from different nations on its flight to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
    • The crash came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting two bases in Iraq housing US forces in retaliation for the killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani.


    1. Oil surges after Iran attacks US forces in Iraq


    • Oil prices rose sharply, with United States crude rising nearly three dollars, today after the U.S. said its forces in Iraq were attacked by Iranian ballistic missiles, raising the prospect of a regional conflagration that could cut oil supplies.
    • West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose nearly three dollars or almost 5%, to 65.50 dollars a barrel. Brent crude was yet to trade after dropping nearly 1% yesterday.
    • Gold prices also surged more than 2% today, crossing the key 1,600 US dollars per ounce.
    1. Dozens killed in stampede at funeral of slain Iranian commander Suleimani

    • In Iran, dozens of mourners were reportedly feared killed in a stampede at the burial procession of Commander Soleimani in his home town at Kerman yesterday.
    • According to local media reports, the death toll in the stampede went up to 50 while 200 others were reportedly injured in the stampede which occurred during the funeral procession.
    • Suleimani’s burial was delayed for some time due to the incident which was resumed later.
    • Thousands of people had gathered to pay their last respect to Commander Soleimani who was killed in an air strike by the US Forces on Friday.


    1. Art Exhibition inaugurated to mark 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in Bangladesh

    • A ten-day-long art exhibition commemorating 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was inaugurated on Tuesday in Dhaka. The art exhibition has been organised by the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh in association with the Bangladesh Shilpkala Academy.
    • The exhibition was inaugurated with a floral tribute paid by MP from Noakhali H.M. Ibrahim and MP from Jamalpur Mirza Azam. The two Gandhi Ashrams in Bangladesh are located at Jamalpur and Noakhali.
    • A leading thinker on Gandhian ideals, Mr. Syed Abul Maksud was the Special Guests of the Ceremony.
    • Welcoming the dignitaries and artists on the occasion Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh Bishwadip Dey said that the exhibition will promote appreciation of Mahatma Gandhi’s life of simplicity and devotion to truth.
    • The exhibition is the culmination of art camp held in Sreemangal in Sylhet Division last month where 15 young artists worked on the exhibition under the guidance of the renowned artist Prof. Rokeya Sultana.
    • The exhibition also featured unique photographs of Mahatma Gandhi since his days in South Africa to various movements in India.


    1. Iran claims 80 US army personnel killed, about 200 injured in missile attacks at American bases in Iraq

    • Iran has claimed that 80 US army personnel have been killed and about 200 injured in missile attacks launched by Iranian Revolutionary Guards at American bases in Iraq.
    • Quoting Revolutionary Guards sources, Fars news agency said that some 20 sensitive points of the military base were struck by fifteen missiles early this morning.
    • White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said that the White House is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with the national security team.



    1. Third Edition of Khelo India Youth Games to take off with a Glitzy Opening Ceremony


    • Countdown has begun for the third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games, scheduled to be held in Guwahati from January 10-22, 2020. The opening ceremony, which will be held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on 10th January, will witness the presence of Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal and the Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Kiren Rijiju, along with a host of star athletes, among them is Assam’s pride Hima Das.
    • Talking about third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games, Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbanada Sonowal said, “We are extremely delighted to host the third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games. The competition has started a sporting revolution in India and we couldn’t be more proud of the fact that the tournament is being held in Assam. I wish the athletes all the very best,”.  Shri Kiren Rijiju said that the Khelo India Youth Games has certainly inspired the youth of this country to take up sports. He also stated that the third edition of the competition will have a huge impact on the youth of the North East, who can witness a competition of international standards.
    • Around 6,800 athletes across 37 (states and union territories) teams will compete in a total of 20 sports events, including new additions – lawn bowls and cycling, in eight venues across Guwahati, during the competition. The total strength of participation at the games is 10,000 people, including athletes, officials, volunteers and support staff.
    • The Opening Ceremony scheduled on January 10th, will be a world class affair, with a larger-than-life show featuring 400+ cast members, 400+ technical and support staff working on ground. A state-of-the-art show created with the innovative use of lighting and technology, will be the centre piece of the Opening Ceremony. Special acts have been devised to celebrate the natural beauty and cultural wealth of Assam along with heroes of the state. Performances by ethnic communities from across Assam, is also part of the grand show. An act to champion the Fit India movement, encouraging all Indians to integrate fitness into their daily routine, is also an important aspect of the show.
    • The third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games has seen several first time initiatives by the government, including having aircrafts dedicated to ferry athlete from Kolkata and Delhi to Guwahati and a go-green programme that will see electric cars at the venues. Besides the Khelo India scholarships that winners of the tournament will get, the Assam Government has also announced cash awards for the winners.
    • The host state is fully geared up to conduct the multi-sport event with world class infrastructure in place and equipment for games shipped in from all over the world.
    • A dedicated hospitality team has been put in place to ensure the best sporting experience for athletes and officials from various states, with over 100 hotels booked in the city, dedicated welcome desks set up at railway stations, bus terminals and airports.



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