Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News Analysis from THE HINDU (January 02, 2019)
1. India, Pak. move towards release of civilian prisoners
In a peace overture, India has asked Islamabad to take back dozens of Pakistani nationals who have completed jail terms here. The Indian request came in the context of the exchange of the lists of prisoners in both countries on the first day of the new year.
“India has also asked Pakistan to expedite response in the cases of 80 Pakistan prisoners who have completed their sentences and await repatriation for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement after India handed over a list of 249 civilian Pakistani prisoners and 98 fishermen in its custody.
Pakistan shared lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its jails, who it claims are Indian.
Of the total number of Indian prisoners, Delhi has asked Islamabad to release 17 civilian prisoners and 369 fishermen whose nationality has been confirmed. The MEA said India had shared details of the reconstituted Joint Judicial Committee and of the medical professionals who are expected to visit Pakistan to help the elderly and mentally unsound Indian prisoners.
2. Ganga water quality has improved, govt. tells RS
The water quality of the Ganga in 2018 has “improved over last year”, according to a written statement in the Rajya Sabha on Monday by junior Water Resources Minister Satyapal Singh.
The statement said “dissolved oxygen” levels had improved at 39 locations, and “biological oxygen demand” (BOD) levels and faecal coliform had decreased at 42 and 47 locations respectively. These three parameters are a proxy for both the presence of aquatic life as well as microbes that may be harmful to these biota, and are conventionally used to assess the quality of the river.
These improved stretches of the river included places such as Rishikesh, the Har-Ki-Pauri Ghat at Haridwar; Ranighat in Kanpur; Tarighat in Ghazipur; Narora in Bulandshahr; Kachhla Ghat in Badaun, Aligarh; Buxar, Mokama and Munger — all in Bihar; Uluberia, Dakshineshwar and Diamond Harbour in West Bengal.
3. Global advertising meet in Kochi on February 20-22
The International Advertising Association (IAA) will host the IAA World Congress at Kochi from February 20-22. The event, covering marketing, advertising and media, would be held at the Grand Hyatt Lulu International Convention Centre in that city.
Pradeep Guha, chairman, steering committee, IAA World Congress, said: “This is being planned as the most significant event with talks by 35 speakers on marketing, advertising, communications, media and related technology areas across the globe. We have also planned three evenings of great entertainment. And we have special rates for academics and students so that they learn from this great line-up of speakers.”
Srinivasan Swamy, chairman and world president, IAA, said: “The world congress is held every alternate year. We are expecting about 2,000 delegates from India and around the world to attend.”
4. ₹1.49 crore grant for Pondicherry varsity
The Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology of the School of Life Sciences, Pondicherry University has been sanctioned ₹1.49 crore as grant by the Department of Science and Technology. The DST-FIST support is given to internationally competitive institutions into teaching and research.
5. ‘India to welcome 69,944 babies on New Year’s day
India would welcome as many as 69,944 babies on New Year’s Day, the highest in the world, the UNICEF said on Tuesday. India would be followed by China which would welcome 44,940 babies, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund said in a report. In Nigeria, 25,685 babies will be born, it added.
6. Inflation targeting
This refers to an approach to monetary policy where the primary mandate of a central bank is to manage the rate of price inflation in the wider economy. Economists who support inflation targeting believe that a stable inflation rate is essential to keep the economy fully employed while protecting the value of the currency at the same time. Central banks with an explicit inflation targeting mandate usually have a target range of inflation. They try to keep inflation within the target range by adjusting the economy’s money supply. The policy of inflation targeting, which was first introduced in some European countries in the 1970s, became a popular approach in the 1990s.
7. Centre approves ‘Prayagraj’
The Union Home Ministry has approved a Uttar Pradesh government proposal to rename Allahabad as Prayagraj.
The decision comes days ahead of the Kumbh Mela being organised in the city, and over two months after the State Cabinet decided to rename it.
The Centre has agreed to the renaming of at least 25 towns and villages nationwide in the past one year. The plan to rename Faizabad district as Ayodhya is yet to come in from the State government.
8. Final NRC to offer Aadhaar benefit
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will record biometric data including the fingerprints and iris scans of about 30 lakh applicants who have sought to be included in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) after having been excluded from the final draft published last year.
Almost 30 lakh out of the 40 lakh people who found their names missing had filed claims to be included during the claims and objections round that ended on December 31.
A senior government official said the UIDAI would obtain the biometrics when the applicants appeared for hearings to be held by Class-I officers starting from February 15. By the standard operating procedure (SOP) submitted by the Centre in the Supreme Court, “during the course of the hearings, the State government in collaboration with UIDAI will undertake the process of biometric enrolment of all the applicants of NRC. The biometric enrolment in respect of persons who are part of claims and those persons objected upon will be distinctive and separate ID will be generated.”
9. U.S., Israel officially quit UNESCO
The U.S. and Israel officially quit the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural agency (UNESCO) at the stroke of midnight, the culmination of a process triggered more than a year ago amid concerns that the organisation fosters anti-Israel bias.
The withdrawal is mainly procedural, yet serves a new blow to UNESCO, co-founded by the U.S. after the Second World War to foster peace.
The Donald Trump administration filed its notice to withdraw in October 2017 and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed suit.
The withdrawals will not greatly impact UNESCO financially, since it has been dealing with a funding slash ever since 2011 when both Israel and the United States stopped paying dues after Palestine was voted in as a member state of the organisation.
10. Bolsonaro sworn in as Brazil’s President
Right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro, who has vowed to crack down on political corruption and violent crime and ignite a moribund economy with deregulation and fiscal discipline, was sworn in as Brazil’s President on Tuesday. He plans to realign Brazil, moving away from developing nation allies and closer to the policies of Western leaders.
11. Seven ITF events for juniors
The Indian tennis players will have seven ITF junior tournaments at home, starting with the grade-3 event in Chandigarh from January 7.
The qualifying event will be played on January 5 and 6.
The other three tournaments are scheduled to be held in Delhi from January 14, Kolkata (January 21), and Indore (January 28). The events in Delhi and Kolkata will be grade-2, while the one in Indore will be grade-5.
The juniors will have three more events in March and April at Raipur, Dehradun and Madurai.
However, there is only one Challenger, scheduled to be played in Chennai from February 4, for the men in National federation’s calendar.
The women, too, have a solitary event — a $25,000 ITF tournament in Jodhpur from January 28.
12. Legion of Honour for French WC champions
The players in France’s football team which last year won the World Cup, on Tuesday were awarded the the Legion of Honour in the new year’s honours list. The 23 players each received France’s top medal. The French team that won the 1998 World Cup also received the Legion of Honour.
13. Kader Khan — the actor who wrote the best lines
Kader Khan’s career in Hindi cinema seemed split into two — the screenwriter and the actor; further when it came to acting, there were the villains he played as against the comedians; and, in terms of the star eras, there was the Amitabh Bachchan phase that led later into the Govinda years. Through all the years, encompassing hundreds of films, Khan remained at the top of his game, specially as a writer.
He died on Monday at the age of 81.
Khan would be best remembered as the influential writer who defined entertainment in the 70s and the 80s and guided film-making of the time in his own way. So Amitabh Bachchan may have been the face of Prakash Mehra’s Sharaabi (1984)but look closely and the film is sustained on the streetside lingo and dialoguethat Khan wrote.
14. Parallel Lit Fest to begin on Jan. 27
The second edition of the Parallel Literature Festival (PLF), which started last year as an answer to the Literature Festival, will be organised here from January 27 to 29 to provide a forum to distinguished personalities from the fields of literature, art, culture and cinema. Speakers have been invited from 20 States as well as from Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Creativity will be showcased on the lush green lawns, art galleries, studio theatre and open air theatre of Jaipur’s cultural centre, Ravindra Manch, where the three-day event will be held. The six stages to be set up at the venue will be named after the writers and books of the Progressive Writers’ Movement.
The PLF-2019 has been dedicated to Urdu writer Razia Sajjad Zaheer, who was born in Ajmer, as the country celebrates her birth centenary year. The festival’s chief convenor Ish Madhu Talwar said here on Tuesday that Ravindra Manch would be named and decorated as “Razia Gram” to commemorate the author.
15. NASA spacecraft zips past Ultima Thule
NASA spacecraft New Horizons on Tuesday flew past the most distant world ever studied by humankind, Ultima Thule, a frozen relic of the early solar system that could reveal how planets formed. Scientists are waiting for the images collected by the spacecraft.
Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)
International Advertising Association (IAA)
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)
17. Things to Remember:
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
18. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – (incumbent on/upon) Necessary for (someone) as a duty or responsibility.
Example – ‘the government realized that it was incumbent on them to act’
Synonyms – binding, obligatory, mandatory, necessary, compulsory, required, requisite, essential, imperative
Meaning 2 – (of an official or regime) currently holding office.
Example – ‘the incumbent President was defeated’
Synonyms – current, existing, present, in office, in power