Current Affairs Headlines

S. No.Headlines
1 21-01-2020 - Supreme Court declines to stay poll bond scheme – Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde orally made it clear that if the Supreme Court had found it unnecessary to stay the electoral bonds scheme earlier, it might not stay the scheme even now. The comments came on a fervent plea by advocates Prashant Bhushan and Shadan Farasat that new facts had come up indicating that the scheme was being frequently opened to allow funds to fill the coffers of the ruling party. Electoral bonds have been roundly criticised by many experts, claiming they are legitimizing black money in elections.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
2 21-01-2020 - SC throws out Nirbhaya convict’s plea –The Supreme Court dismissed a plea of Nirbhaya gang rape convict Pawan Kumar Gupta against the Delhi High Court's rejection of his claim that he was a juvenile at the time of the crime in 2012. A three-judge Bench led by Justice R. Banumathi said that though the plea of juvenility could be made by an accused at any stage of the case, it cannot be reagitated time and again once successive courts have rejected the claim. The President has also rejected the mercy plea of Mukesh. The SC recently dismissed a review petition filed by another one of the four condemned men, Akshay Singh, to review its May 5, 2017 judgment confirming the death penalty.

(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
3 21-01-2020 - Police file criminal cases against protesters –The Uttar Pradesh police have lodged three criminal cases against the protesters, mostly women, demonstrating against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) at the Clocktower Park in Lucknow.  The police have named around two dozen persons in the FIRs, while more than 135 are unidentified protesters. Most of those named in the FIRs are women and include Sumaiya Rana and Fauzia Rana, daughters of Urdu poet Munawwar Rana, a Sahitya Akademi Award winner.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
4 21-01-2020 - IMF lowers India’s growth forecast to 4.8%– The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered India’s economic growth estimate for the current fiscal to 4.8% and listed the country’s much lower-than-expected GDP numbers as the single biggest drag on its global growth forecast for two years. In October, the IMF had pegged India’s economic growth at 6.1% for 2019. Compared to the October WEO forecast, the estimate for 2019 and the projection for 2020 represent 0.1 percentage point reduction for each year while that for 2021 is 0.2 percentage point lower.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
5 21-01-2020 - Samsung to invest $500 mn to set up display factory in India –South Korean flat screen maker Samsung Display plans to set up a factory in India with a $500-million investment as parent Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd seeks to expand smartphone production there. The move would be a boon for India which is vying with nearby rivals such as Vietnam to attract global smartphone firms under the government’s “Make in India” drive. Under the plan, Samsung Electronics will provide Rs.3,500 crore ($492.31 million) in loans and transfer a parcel of land in Noida for Rs.92 crore to its display unit, Samsung India Electronics Private Ltd.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
6 21-01-2020 - Virus outbreak spreads to Beijing, Shanghai – An outbreak of a new coronavirus has spread to more Chinese cities; including the capital Beijing and Shanghai, and a fourth case has been reported beyond China’s borders. Adding to the difficulties of containing the virus, hundreds of millions of Chinese will be travelling domestically and abroad during the Lunar New Year holiday that starts this week. Screening of travellers - Authorities around the globe, including in the U.S. and many Asian countries, have stepped up screening of travellers from Wuhan, the central city where the virus was first discovered. Authorities confirmed a total of 217 new cases of the virus in China.
(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
7 21-01-2020 - Thanjavur gets a Sukhoi squadron –The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted a squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets armed with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, at its Thanjavur Air Force Station. To begin with, five to six SU-30MKI fighter planes with the capability to carry BrahMos missiles would be positioned at the Air Force Station and the full capacity of 18 planes would be reached at a later date, gradually. This is also the first Sukhoi squadron of the IAF with BrahMos missiles.
(Defence and Military, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
8 21-01-2020 - Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant-Governor invited investors, said communication curbs will go – Highlighting investment opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant-Governor G. C. Murmu said that communication restrictions, including the Internet ban, were temporary. A meeting of business delegates was held in New Delhi in the run-up to the first-ever three-day Global Investors’ Summit to be held in Srinagar and Jammu in April. The summit was scheduled to be held last year, but was postponed.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
9 21-01-2020 - Andhra Pradesh will have three capitals – The Andhra Pradesh government, led by Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy moved a step closer to creating three state capitals and stripping Amaravati of the sole capital tag. The government moved a Bill in the Legislative Assembly to make Vishakhapatnam the executive capital, Amaravati the legislative capital, and Kurnool the judicial one.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
10 21-01-2020 - 19 convicted in Muzaffarpur shelter home case – A Delhi court convicted key accused Brajesh Thakur and 18 others of sexual and physical assault of girl inmates of a shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Arguments on the quantum of sentence will be heard on January 28. Additional sessions judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha convicted Thakur of aggravated sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, gang rape, rape and other related offences under the Indian Penal Code and the Juvenile Justice Act. Vicky, one of the accused, has been acquitted. (Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
11 20-01-2020 - EPF Act - Benefits should extend to contractual employees: SC– The Supreme Court has observed that contractual employees engaged by a company, who draw their wages/salary directly or indirectly from the company, are entitled to the benefit of provident fund under the Employee’s Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Act, 1952.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
12 20-01-2020 - Centre for tougher law against sexual harassment at work–The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Amit Shah, which was constituted to strengthen the legal framework to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, has finalised its recommendations. The recommendations, which include addition of new provisions to the Indian Penal Code, will be put up for comments from the public. The #MeToo movement had significantly impacted debate on this sensitive topic.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
13 20-01-2020 - Reserve Bank of India –The Reserve Bank of India bought 7.5 tonnes of gold towards the end of 2019, making its gold reserves swell to 625.2 tonnes. In 2019, there was debate whether RBI was selling a part of its gold holdings. RBI clarified it was not, and trading in gold was a regular feature.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
14 20-01-2020 - 146 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins sighted in Chilika–Odisha Forest Department officials, wildlife experts and researchers sighted 146 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lake, which boasts of the highest single lagoon population of the aquatic mammal in the world. The dolphin census was simultaneously taken up in Chilika and off Odisha coast.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Geography)
15 20-01-2020 - Trump’s defence team terms impeachment charges ‘brazen’–President Donald Trump’s legal defence team strenuously denied that he had committed impeachable acts, denouncing the charges against him as a “brazen and unlawful” attempt to cost him re-election as House Democrats laid out in meticulous detail their case that he should be removed from office. Trump is embroiled in a controversy over Ukraine issue, where he allegedly pressured the President to investigate Joe Biden’s son’s dealings.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
16 20-01-2020 - Libya summit seeks end to fighting – World leaders made a fresh push for peace in Libya at a summit in Berlin, in a desperate bid to stop the conflict-wracked nation from turning into a “second Syria”. Libya has been in turmoil ever since the NATO forces attacked it in 2011. The then ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi was killed October 2011.

(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
17 20-01-2020 - Rozgar Sangi –Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel launched an employment mobile app ‘Rozgar Sangi’ to connect employment providing institutions and skilled trained youth. Employment generation is a big political issue in a slowing economy.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
18 20-01-2020 - Harry, Meghan to drop titles, retire as working royals– Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle will no longer be working members of Britain's monarchy and they will pay their own way in life as they embark on an independent future, Buckingham Palace said.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
19 20-01-2020 - Sheikh Hasina says India’s citizenship law is unnecessary– India’s new law to grant citizenship to the minority communities of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan is not necessary, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said. In a newspaper interview, she said PM Narendra Modi had assured her that the NRC was India’s internal matter and it would not affect her people.Within India, rising pro- and anti-protests on the CAA issue has brought the world’s attention to India, right when the economy is slowing down.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, World Politics)
20 20-01-2020 - Ahead of holiday, China gears up to contain virus outbreak – China will step up efforts to contain the corona virus outbreak in Wuhan ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. With 17 new cases of the virus having been confirmed, fears have risen that the virus could spread to other countries.Corona-viruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae, and are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and with a nucleoside of helical symmetry. The virus has now spread to Beijing, alarming the authorities.
(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
21 18-01-2020 - Citizens can skip question on place of birth of parents in NPR form, says Centre– Officials of non-BJP-ruled States asked the Registrar General of India (RGI) to remove the column on “place of birth of mother and father” in the proposed National Population Register (NPR) to be updated simultaneously with the Census exercise in April-September. The RGI and the Home Ministry had convened a day-long conference to discuss the modalities to be adopted during the house-listing phase of Census 2021 and the NPR. A mobile app will be used in the Census for the first time.RGI and other Home Ministry officials told the State representatives that respondents could skip the questions in the NPR form if they wanted and answering them was not mandatory but ‘voluntary’.
(Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
22 18-01-2020 - Last NDFB faction in Assam calls truce–The last faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) has called a truce. But two of its most-wanted top guns remain at large and within “sniffing distance”. The Central and Assam governments and the NDFB’s Saoraigwra faction, or NDFB-S, signed a tripartite agreement in New Delhi for the cessation of operations. The NDFB-S is the third and last faction of the outfit that was formed more than three decades ago for establishing a sovereign homeland for the Bodos — the largest plains tribe in the Northeast.
(Defence and Military, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
23 18-01-2020 - Pakistani Islamists get 55 years in jail for protests–A Pakistani court has sentenced 86 members of a radical Islamist party to 55-year prison terms each for taking part in violent rallies in 2018 over the acquittal of a Christian woman in a blasphemy case. The verdicts, unusually harsh for Pakistan by the court in Rawalpindi. The trial had lasted for over a year. The woman – Asia Bibi – was convicted under the draconian blasphemy law of Pakistan, but after a long struggle and global outrage, she was allowed to leave for Canada in 2019.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
24 18-01-2020 - BJP releases first list of 57 candidates –The BJP released its first list of 57 candidates for the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections on February 8. After a marathon meeting, the party’s Central Election Committee, which included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, named 57 candidates but refrained from clearing a candidate against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from the New Delhi seat. The list included 11 Scheduled Caste and four women candidates. The three sitting MLAs — Vijender Gupta (Rohini), Jagdish Pradhan (Mustafabad) and O.P. Sharma (Vishwas Nagar) — have been repeated.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
25 18-01-2020 - Two bull owners, spectator gored to death in Tamil Nadu –Two bull owners and a spectator were gored to death in separate incidents at jallikattu events in Alanganallur in Madurai and Avarangadu in Tiruchi.At Alanganallur, V. Sridhar, 27, from Sholavandhan, who was attempting to lead a bull through the vaadivasal, the entry to the bull taming arena, was gored by his bull while he was trying to ensure its passage through the narrow path between the holding area and the entry point.As many as 39 persons were injured during the events at Alanganallur. Thirteen persons with major injuries were taken to the GRH.
(Art Culture Literature, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
26 18-01-2020 - Merger plan of RSTV and LSTV in final stages– The merger of Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV) and Lok Sabha Television (LSTV) is in the final stages, with a six-member committee expected to submit a report by this month-end to Upper House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. The final decision will be taken by them. There has been an overwhelming demand that the live transmission of the proceedings of the two Houses should not be disrupted.
(Indian Politics, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
27 18-01-2020 - Phone scandal rocks Sri Lanka’s Opposition party –A Sri Lankan politician’s alleged practice of recording phone conversations has led to a scandal, after some of the conversations were leaked on social media, putting several judges, police officers and politicians under the spotlight and delivering a huge blow to the main Opposition party. Earlier, the police arrested actor-politician Ranjan Ramanayake, a legislator with the United National Party (UNP), that suspended him following the phone call leaks.The recordings reveal what appear to be the politician’s conversations, with senior judges, police and celebrities, pertaining to ongoing court cases.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
28 18-01-2020 - Christopher Tolkien, son of The Lord of the Rings author, dead– Christopher Tolkien, the son of J.R.R. Tolkien who was responsible for publishing many of his father’s works, has died aged 95.The academic, a former lecturer in Old and Middle English as well as Old Icelandic at the University of Oxford, is credited with drawing the 1954 map of Middle-earth for his father’s novel The Lord of the Rings.After his father’s death in 1973, he became the literary executor of the Tolkien Estate.

(Art Culture Literature, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
29 18-01-2020 - Ukraine President rejects PM’s resignation over tape leak – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy allowed Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk to keep his job after the leak of an embarrassing audio recording prompted Mr.Honcharuk to submit his resignation. Speculation over Mr.Honcharuk’s position has grown this week after a recording of a man discussing President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s purported lack of knowledge of economics was circulated on messaging channels, apparently at a meeting of the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the National Bank of Ukraine in December.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
30 18-01-2020 - RIL profit surges 13.5% on retail, telecom – Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) reported a 13.5% growth in its third quarter net profit to Rs. 11,640 crore, led by growth in consumer driven businesses of retail and telecommunications, even as petrochemicals, the core business, disappointed. The profit came on a 1.4% drop in revenue to Rs. 1,68,858crore due to a fall in revenue from refining and petrochemicals business. Telecommunications and retail contributed 37% of the company’s earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), up from 27% last year.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
31 17-01-2020 - India to invite Imran Khan for Shanghai Council meet– Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will be invited to participate in the Heads of Government Council meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that will be hosted in India this year, the Ministry of External Affairs said. The invite move came hours after the UN Security Council discussed the situation in Kashmir.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations)
32 17-01-2020 - Children being radicalised in Kashmir: Gen. Rawat–Children as young as 10-12 years are being radicalised in Kashmir and there is need to isolate those completely radicalised and put them in “deradicalisation camps”, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat said. He also said that security forces cannot be blamed for injuries caused by pellet guns. Speaking on a panel on countering terrorism at the ongoing Raisina Dialogue organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation, he said radicalisation could be countered by looking at where it was happening and who were behind it. The statement created a flutter in social circles, as it was completely unexpected!
(Defence and Military, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
33 17-01-2020 - 34,000 Bru refugees to be settled in Tripura –Union Home Minister Amit Shah presided over the signing of a quadripartite pact of the MHA with the State governments of Tripura, Mizoram and leaders of Bru community to permanently settle around 34,000 internally displaced Bru people in Tripura. Reangs or Brus are the second largest ethnic group in Mizoram. Their exodus in 1997 was spurred by violent clashes in Mamith subdivision, a Reang-dominated area, when they demanded creation of an autonomous council that was vehemently opposed by Mizo groups.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
34 17-01-2020 - No SC relief, telcos have to pay Rs. 1.47 lakh cr.–Athree-judge Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Arun Mishra, dismissed petitions filed by telecom companies, including BhartiAirtel and Vodafone Idea, for a review of its October 2019 judgment upholding the recovery of past dues amounting to Rs.1.47 lakh crore from them. The recovery by the government was based on adjusted gross revenue of about Rs.92,000 crore. The Bench, also comprising Justices Abdul S. Nazeer and M. R. Shah, rejected the review petitions in their chambers, finding no merit in them. It also rejected a plea for an open court hearing.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, Science and Technology)
35 17-01-2020 - ‘Invasive tests required to check structural safety of Central Vista’– Structural engineers consulted for the Centre’s redevelopment of Central Vista have said invasive tests would need to be done to find out whether Parliament House and North and South Blocks are structurally sound or not. As a part of the revamp project, a new Parliament building would be constructed, while offices of various ministries would be moved out of North and South Block, which would be turned into museums, according to the plan drafted by Gujarat-based HCP Design, Planning and Management. The firm was selected by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for drafting the master plan for the 3-km-long Rajpath in October last year..
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
36 17-01-2020 - Senate opens Trump’s impeachment trial –The charges against U.S. President Donald Trump, who was impeached on December 18th by the House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, were read out on the U.S. Senate floor as the historic impeachment trial of the U.S. President got underway. Donald Trump has consistently criticised the whole process as a witch-hunt!
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
37 17-01-2020 - Russian lawmakers approve Putin nominee Mishustin as PM –Russia’s lawmakers approved Mikhail Mishustin as Prime Minister in a lower house vote, less than 24 hours after President Vladimir Putin nominated him for the role. His elevation is part of a sweeping shake-up of the political system announced by Putin on Wednesday, which led to the resignation of Dmitry Medvedev as Prime Minister along with his government.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
38 17-01-2020 - ‘Taliban proposes brief Afghanistan ceasefire’– The Taliban have offered a brief ceasefire to the U.S., a move which could allow for the resumption of talks seeking a deal for Washington to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Washington has for weeks been calling on the militants to reduce violence, posing it as a condition for resuming formal negotiations on an agreement that would see U.S. troops begin to leave the country in return for security guarantees, after a near two-decade fight.
(Defence and Military, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
39 17-01-2020 - China, U.S. sign initial trade agreement – China will boost purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over two years in exchange for the rolling back of some tariffs under an initial trade deal signed by the world’s two largest economies, defusing an 18-month row that has hit global growth. Key world stock market indexes climbed to record highs after the deal was signed in Washington, but later stalled on concerns over unresolved thorny issues.

(Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
40 17-01-2020 - Musharraf challenges special court’s ruling in SC – Pakistan’s self-exiled former dictator Pervez Musharraf challenged in the Supreme Court a special tribunal’s verdict that found him guilty of high treason and handed him a death sentence. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had filed the treason case against the former Army chief in 2013 over the imposition of an extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007, which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
41 16-01-2020 - Unnao rape case: Kuldeep Sengar moves Delhi High Court challenging conviction, life term –Expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar moved the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction and life term for raping a minor girl in Unnao in 2017. Sengar challenged the December 20 verdict of a trial court here which had sentenced him to life imprisonment and had imposed an exemplary fine of Rs.25 lakh in the case.The court had convicted Sengar for rape under the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act for offence by a public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child after holding the victim to be a minor.
(Constitution and Law, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
42 16-01-2020 - West Bengal, Kerala governments want NPR data collection halted –State governments of West Bengal and Kerala have communicated to the Registrar General of India (RGI) that the collection of data for updating the National Population Register (NPR) should be halted citing maintenance of "public order". The two States wrote to the district census commissioner, who forwarded the request to the RGI. The Chief Ministers of both the States have been vociferous in opposing the NPR exercise, which according to Citizenship Rules 2003 is the first step towards the compilation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The government has clarified that there was no proposal to compile NRC as of now.
(Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
43 16-01-2020 - U.S., China tiptoe around holes in new trade agreement –The United States and China signed an initial trade deal on January 15 that will roll back some tariffs and boost Chinese purchases of U.S. products, defusing an 18-month row between the world's two largest economies but leaving a number of sore spots unresolved. Beijing and Washington touted the “Phase 1” agreement as a step forward after months of start-stop talks, and investors greeted the news with relief. But there also was scepticism the U.S.-Sino trade relationship was now firmly on the mend.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
44 16-01-2020 - Congress accuses Modi government of ‘favouring’ Adani group in Rs.45,000 crore submarine project –  The Congress accused the Modi-led government of "favouring" the Adani group in the Rs45,000 crore 75-I Submarine project, alleging that it was promoting its "crony capitalists". The principal Opposition party alleged that the government was promoting 'crony capitalists' by violating laid down rules and regulations. “Crony Capitalism” is a term used to denote favouritism towards a few select groups by the government.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities)
45 16-01-2020 - U.S. House votes to send Trump impeachment to Senate for trial – The U.S. House voted on January 15 to send two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate and approve House prosecutors for only the third impeachment trial in American history. The nearly party-line vote moved Mr. Trump’s impeachment from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic-run House to the Republican-majority Senate, where Mr. Trump expects acquittal, even as new evidence is raising fresh questions about his Ukraine dealings.The vote was 228-193, coming at the start of a presidential election year and one month after the House impeached Mr. Trump.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
46 16-01-2020 - Lebanon protests turn violent for second night – Protests in Lebanon turned violent for a second night on January 15, with dozens injured after Lebanese security forces used batons and tear gas to forcefully break up demonstrations. Lebanon has been swept by a wave of mostly peaceful protests aimed at the country's elite that prompted Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign on Oct. 29, pushing the country deeper into economic crisis.
(Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
47 16-01-2020 - Russian prime minister and government resign after Vladimir Putin speech –Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that his government was resigning to give President Vladimir Putin room to carry out the changes he wants to make to the constitution. The unexpected announcement, which came shortly after Mr. Putin proposed a nationwide vote on sweeping changes that would shift power from the presidency to parliament, means Russia will also get a new prime minister.

(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
48 16-01-2020 - Hawkish about inflation, but not dogmatic– The markets were taken by surprise when Michael Debabrata Patra, the executive director of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) voted in favour of an interest rate cut in the monetary policy review in February 2019. Mr Patra, who has been a member of the six-member monetary policy committee (which sets interest rates) since its inception, was seen as an inflation hawk by central bank watchers. Hence, his stance in the February 2019 policy came as a surprise to many. It would be interesting to watch his step in Feb 2020 review, given the high CPI-inflation numbers for now.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
49 16-01-2020 - Govt to send 36 ministers to J&K in massive outreach – A massive confidence building exercise is being launched by the government in Jammu and Kashmir post nullification of Article 370 as a large number of Union ministers have been tasked with reaching out to people of the newly-formed Union Territory and tell them how the recent legislation will be beneficial for the region. Starting January 18, as many as 36 Union ministers will go to 52 places in J&K. Ministers will reach out to people across the UT up to the panchayat level and share with them how the Centre has planned to expedite development in the region, which was being affected due to some provisions of Article 370.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
50 16-01-2020 - Air India unable to move engine due to Rs 100cr GST dues– The last mile is always the hardest and the situation is no different for Air India as it awaits the outcome of the government’s second move to sell it off. The airline, which is yet to pay December salary, has almost completely run out of funds and is now struggling to keep flying in the absence of equity infusion this fiscal. One of AI’s Airbus has been grounded in Vadodara for almost a week as it requires an engine replacement. The Maharaja has a spare engine for this aircraft in Delhi but is unable to send it as it can’t raise the e-way bill because of GST dues.

(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
51 15-01-2020 - After Modi’s call, Trump likely to visit Delhi in late February – US president Donald Trump is likely to visit Delhi in late Feb 2020.The visit, which has not yet been announced, would bring Mr. Trump to India a year after he declined an invitation to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations, and will go ahead at the end of February as long as dates don’t need to be changed to accommodate the impeachment process in the Senate. The decision to visit India, at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation, was discussed during a telephone call between the leaders on January 7. Mr. Trump is keen to visit early in the year, ahead of elections in November, and both sides are working towards a visit in the last week of February.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
52 15-01-2020 - SC rejects curative pleas of 2 Nirbhaya death row convicts –The curative petitions of Vinay Sharma, 26, and Mukesh Singh, 32, who were sentenced to death in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, were rejected by a five-judge Supreme Court Bench, led by Justice N.V. Ramana.
(Constitution and Law, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
53 15-01-2020 - AAP releases full list of 70 candidates for Delhi –The Aam Aadmi Party released its full list of 70 candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections due on February 8.All seven AAP Ministers got party tickets and three of its 2019 Delhi Lok Sabha election candidates — Atishi, Dilip Pandey, and Raghav Chadha — made it to the list. Also, leaders who joined the party in the last one week — Ram Singh Netaji, Vinay Mishra and Shoaib Iqbal — got tickets. The party has announced 24 new faces while 15 sitting MLAs have been dropped. Of the existing 61 MLAs, 46 have made it to the list and the party has fielded eight women candidates, compared with six in 2015.
(Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
54 15-01-2020 - Kerala govt. challenges CAA in Supreme Court–Kerala became the first State to join citizens across the country to challenge in the Supreme Court the constitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, which fast-tracks grant of citizenship on the basis of religion.
(Constitution and Law, Regional Politics, Religion, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
55 15-01-2020 - Hallmarking made must for gold jewellery–No jeweller will be allowed to sell gold jewellery or artefacts without hallmark from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) from January 15, 2021, onwards. If jewellery or artefacts made of 14, 18 and 22 carat gold are sold without a BIS hallmark, then the jeweller could be charged penalty five times the cost of the object or even given imprisonment up to one year. Gold hallmarking is a purity certification and is voluntary in nature now.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
56 15-01-2020 - oastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules eased for ‘Blue Flag’ beaches–The Environment Ministry has relaxed CRZ rules that restrict construction near beaches to help States construct infrastructure and enable them to receive ‘Blue Flag’ certification.Last year, the Ministry selected 13 beaches in India to vie for the certificate. This is an international recognition conferred on beaches that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and environmental propriety.
(Constitution and Law, Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
57 15-01-2020 - Draft National Policy for Rare Diseases released–Calling it just another piece of paper that is far from reality, groups working in the area of rare diseases in India have said that the National Policy for Rare Diseases-2020, released recently by the Union Health Ministry, is nothing more than an illusion. It offers no clarity on long-term financial assistance.The government, in its policy paper, has proposed financial support of up to Rs. 15 lakh under an umbrella scheme of the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi for rare diseases that require one-time treatment.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
58 15-01-2020 - Iran nuclear deal: EU launches dispute mechanism– Britain, France and Germany ratcheted up pressure on Iran to cease its violations of a landmark nuclear deal, stressing that they want to resolve differences through talks while starting the clock on a process that could result in a so-called snap back of United Nations sanctions.
(Energy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
59 15-01-2020 - Russians hacked firm linked to Bidens –With President Donald Trump facing an impeachment trial over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice- President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, Russian military hackers have been boring into the Ukrainian gas company at the centre of the affair.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
60 15-01-2020 - Jio, UVARC emerge top bidders for RCom– Reliance Communications (RCom) has received bids of about Rs. 25,000 crore for its assets, with Reliance Jio placing bids of Rs. 4,700 crore for its mobile tower and fibre assets, while UV Asset Reconstruction Company (UVARC) has placed bids of around Rs. 16,000 crore for spectrum, real estate assets as well as the enterprise and data centre businesses.

(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
61 14-01-2020 - SC not to review Sabarimala case, to examine ‘larger issues’ – A nine-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde said its objective was not to review the Sabarimala women entry case but examine ‘larger issues’ of law arising from practices such as the prohibition of women from entering mosques and temples, female genital mutilation among Dawoodi Bohras and the ban on Parsi women who married inter-faith from entering the fire temple. The Bench, however, clarified that it would not go into the legality of issues such as the practice of polygamy and ‘nikah-halala’ in Islam.
(Constitution and Law, Religion, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
62 14-01-2020 - Retail inflation at 5-year high of 7.3% in December–According to information released by the National Statistical Office, retail inflation soared to a five-and-a-half year high of 7.35% in December 2019, with the shortage of onions driving the surge. Retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index was only 2.11% in December 2018 and 5.54% in November 2019. The last time retail inflation touched 7.39% was in July 2014, just after Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his first term in office.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
63 14-01-2020 - HC rules Musharraf trial illegal–In huge relief for Pakistan’s self-exiled former dictator, the Lahore High Court declared Pervez Musharraf’s trial in the high treason case as unconstitutional. A special court had given death sentence to the ex-Army chief on December 17 for holding the Constitution in abeyance. Lawyer Usama Malik said the High Court pointed out that Cabinet approval wasn’t given for the formation of the special court and it was only constituted by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Interior Ministry, which is illegal.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
64 14-01-2020 - Hizb ultras led police to rogue officer–According to a senior government official, the police had been on the trail of Jammu and Kashmir DSP Davinder Singh for at least two days before his arrest. Singh was arrested while travelling in a vehicle with two wanted Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants and a lawyer.
(Defence and Military, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
65 14-01-2020 - Maharashtra, Gujarat lag behind in compensation for sewer deaths –Of the 926 deaths inside sewers in the country, from 1993 till December 31, 2019, families of 172 victims were yet to receive compensation, with Gujarat having the highest number of cases where the amount was not paid or the payment was unconfirmed (48), while Maharashtra was yet to pay or confirm payment of compensation in any of its 32 cases, according to data from the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK).
(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
66 14-01-2020 - Register your drones or face penalty: govt.–The Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked all drone owners to voluntarily register their drones before January 31, failing which they would be penalised with a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine of up to Rs.10 lakh. All drones in India must be registered on the Digital Sky portal and must have a unique identification number. All drone operators must also have an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP). Both came into effect from December 1, 2018. If a person operates a drone without registering it, he or she may be booked for endangering someone's life or for negligence with respect to machinery- both of which are crimes under the Indian Penal Code and carry a punishment of up to six months.
(Constitution and Law, Defence and Military, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
67 14-01-2020 - Govt. launches road accident database –The government launched a central accident database management system that will help in analysing causes of road crashes and in devising safety interventions to reduce such accidents in the country. The IT tool, known as the Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD), has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and will be implemented by the National Informatics Centre. The project costs Rs.258 crore and is being supported by the World Bank. The system will be first piloted in the six States with highest fatalities from road crashes — Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The IRAD will be improved on the basis of the learnings from the trial, following which it will be rolled out across the country.
(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
68 14-01-2020 - Woman ostracised for going to court – A woman and her family have allegedly been ostracised for seven years in Odisha’s Puri district for defying her village’s diktat and opting to go to court to settle a dispute over her engagement as an anganwadi worker. Villagers, including her own parents staying in Bhatapada village under Brahmagiri block, have stopped talking to her in public due to an unwritten decree since 2013, said Bhanumati Pradhan, who along with her husband and children were forced to migrate from the village.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
69 14-01-2020 - Priesthood is not for married men: ex-Pope–Former pope Benedict XVI has publicly urged his successor Pope Francis not to open the Catholic priesthood up to married men, in a plea that stunned Vatican experts. The ex-pontiff, who retired in 2013, issued the defence of clerical celibacy in a book written with arch-conservative Cardinal Robert Sarah, extracts of which were published exclusively by France’s Le Figaro. The Pope emeritus, 92, and Cardinal Sarah weighed in on the controversial question of whether or not to allow “viriprobati” — married “men of proven virtue” — to join the priesthood. Pope Francis is currently considering allowing it in remote locations, such as the Amazon, where communities seldom have Mass due to a lack of priests. The pair asked the whole Church not to be “swayed” by “bad pleas, theatrics, diabolical lies, fashionable errors that want to devalue priestly celibacy”.

(People and Personalities, Religion, Science and Technology)
70 14-01-2020 - Govt. gets cracking on GST evaders with data analytics–The Department of Revenue has identified as many as 931 cases of fraudulent GST (Goods and Services Tax) refund claims through data analytics and has now tasked the GST data analytics wing to scrutinise all past and pending refund claims filed all over the country for inverted duty structure. Refund claims worth more than Rs 28,000 crore are said to have been filed by over 27,000 taxpayers so far on account of inverted duty structure in the current financial year.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
71 13-01-2020 - CAA meant to give citizenship, not take it away, says PM Modi–Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was aimed at giving citizenship and not taking it away. Addressing a gathering of youth at Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, in West Bengal’s Howrah district, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, Mr.Modi accused those opposing the amended law of “playing political games” and “fuelling misconception among the youth”.
(Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
72 13-01-2020 - J&K officer may have been ferrying Hizb ultras to Delhi –The Jammu & Kashmir police said they are investigating the role of a gallantry award-winning senior police officer, Davinder Singh, who was ferrying two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including wanted ‘commander’ Syed Naveed Mushtaq alias Babu, in a civilian car. They are suspected to have been headed to Delhi and may have been targeting the Republic Day function in the national capital.
(Defence and Military, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
73 13-01-2020 - JNU attack state-sponsored: Congress panel–The January 5 attack against students and faculty members of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was state-sponsored, a Congress fact-finding committee said.The four-member committee accused Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar of being the “mastermind” of the attack, and demanded his immediate dismissal and a criminal investigation against him, faculty members who conspired with the attackers and the company charged with security on the campus.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics)
74 13-01-2020 - Tripura HC says social media posting a fundamental right –In a landmark order, the Tripura High Court has ordered the police to refrain from prosecuting a man who was earlier arrested over a social media post. Chief Justice Akil Kureshi also barred the police from making any further arrests in connection with the case. The Chief Justice passed the order after lawyers moved the court against the arrest and harassment of Youth Congress activist Arindam Bhattacharjee over his post on a social media platform.

(Constitution and Law, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
75 13-01-2020 - Pongal spells peril for Salem’s foxes –With Kaanum Pongal, the fourth and final day of the harvest festival, less than a week away, Forest Department officials in Salem are gearing up to prevent an unusual jallikattu — one that uses foxes instead of bulls. The jallikattu-like event using foxes, or vanganari in Tamil, is usually organised on Kaanum Pongal on the outskirts of the district as villagers believe it will bring bountiful rain and good fortune.
(Art Culture Literature, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
76 13-01-2020 - India’s under-5 girls face high mortality – India is among the few countries in the world where, in 2018, the mortality for girls under 5 years of age exceeded that of boys, according to the ‘Levels and Trends in Child Mortality’ report by the United Nations (UN) inter-agency group for child mortality. The report states that in 2018, fewer countries showed gender disparities in child mortality, and across the world, boys are expected to have a higher probability of dying before reaching age 5 than girls. But this trend was not reflected in India.
(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations)
77 13-01-2020 - Kaziranga has one of the highest number of wetland birds –Kaziranga recorded 96 species of wetland birds — one of the highest for wildlife reserves in India, according to the second wetland bird count conducted on January 9-10. The survey registered a total of 19,225 birds belonging to 96 species under 80 families. The first waterfowl census in 2018 had yielded 10,412 birds covering 80 species, belonging to 21 families.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
78 13-01-2020 - Private property is a fundamental right, says SC–A citizen’s right to own private property is a fundamental right. The State cannot take possession of it without following due procedure and authority of law, the Supreme Court held in a judgment on January 8. The State cannot trespass into the private property of a citizen and then claim ownership of the land in the name of ‘adverse possession’, the court said, adding that grabbing private land and then claiming it as its own makes the State an encroacher. In a welfare state, right to property is a human right, said a Bench of Justices Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi..
(Constitution and Law, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
79 13-01-2020 - Iran agrees de-escalation is only way to solve crisis –Iran signalled it favours a de-escalation after days of heightened tensions with the U.S. during which both sides fired missiles and Tehran accidentally shot down a passenger aircraft. U.S. President Donald Trump warned Iran against harming demonstrators and against a repeat of a deadly crackdown against rallies in November 2019 sparked by a fuel price hike.
(Defence and Military, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
80 13-01-2020 - Rival Libya groups agree to ceasefire – Both sides in Libya’s conflict agreed to a ceasefire to end nine months of fighting following weeks of international diplomacy and calls for a truce by power-brokers Russia and Turkey. The oil-rich North African country has been wracked by bloody turmoil since a NATO-backed uprising killed long-time dictator MoamerKadhafi in 2011, with multiple foreign powers now involved.

(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
81 11-01-2020 - SC tells govt. to review orders curbing basic rights in J&K – The Supreme Court ordered the government to review ‘forthwith’ any existing orders that restrict basic rights and free movement in Jammu and Kashmir. The court upheld the freedoms of free speech, expression and trade or business on the Internet as fundamental rights to be constitutionally protected. It, however, refused to express any views on whether the very access to the Internet is a fundamental right or not. The top court directed the government to review orders suspending Internet services in the erstwhile State instantly. Any order suspending the Internet found to violate the law should be revoked at once, it ordered.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
82 11-01-2020 - Steel mesh to replace border fences – The rickety barbed wires along the Pakistan and Bangladesh border are being replaced with meshed fence made of steel and coated with anti-rust paint. India shares around 4,097 km border with Bangladesh and 3,323 km with Pakistan. The cost of around 1 km of fence is approximately Rs. 2 crore. The Border Security Force (BSF) that is deployed along the Pakistan and Bangladesh borders has been tasked to ensure that the fence is installed in a time-bound manner.
(Defence and Military, Science and Technology)
83 11-01-2020 - Union Home Ministry notifies CAA provisions – The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification that the provisions of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, came into force from January 10. The CAA, passed by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to six undocumented non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. The Act got the President’s assent on December 12. The CAA rules are yet to be notified.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
84 11-01-2020 - ED attaches assets of Kochhar couple –The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth Rs.78 crore of ICICI Bank's former chief executive officer and managing director Chanda Kochhar, and that of her husband Deepak Kochhar's companies in connection with a money laundering case.Chanda Kochhar was the high-profile boss of ICICI, but had a steep fall after the Videocon loan scandal broke out.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
85 11-01-2020 - MoD approves rules of business for DMA – The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved the rules of business for the newly created Department of Military Affairs (DMA), headed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The rules of business have been approved by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and would be notified as a gazette. The training policy, most of the training establishments and cadre management of the Services would be under the purview of the DMA. Defence diplomacy of the neighborhood countries would also be under the CDS.

(Defence and Military, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
86 11-01-2020 - Centre gets notice on plea for population control – The Supreme Court sought the Centre’s reply to a petition challenging a Delhi High Court order that dismissed a plea for measures, including a two-child norm, to control India’s rising population. A Bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant issued notice to the Centre and others. The appeal, filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, has challenged the September 3 order, which said it was for Parliament and the State Legislature to enact laws and not the court. It said the High Court had failed to appreciate that the right to clean air, drinking water, health, peaceful sleep, shelter, livelihood and education guaranteed under Articles 21 and 21A of the Constitution could not be secured for all citizens without controlling the population.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
87 11-01-2020 - Iranian missile downed airliner -Trudeau –Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said multiple intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 on board, including 63 Canadians. Mr. Trudeau’s comments came as video emerged that appeared to show the moment the airliner was hit. That and other footage posted on social media increasingly pointed to a catastrophic mistake by Tehran’s air defense batteries in bringing down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752.
(Defence and Military, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
88 11-01-2020 - Gotabaya orders probe into anti -graft panels – Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered a presidential probe into the previous government’s anti-corruption panels which investigated the members of the Rajapaksa family, including himself.Two retired senior judges and a former police chief have been appointed to the panel which has been mandated to come out with a report within six months from January 9, according to a gazette issued by the government.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
89 11-01-2020 - Strong winds merge two enormous fires in Australia–Strong winds in Australia merged two enormous fires into a mega blaze spanning an area four times the size of Greater London on Friday, while tens of thousands rallied to again demand action on climate change.Temperatures soared above 40° Celsius in parts of New South Wales and Victoria, where attention was focused on the two fires that linked to form yet another monster blaze of more than 6,00,000 hectares
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, World Geography)
90 11-01-2020 - Infosys CEO Salil Parekh gets clean chit –Tech major Infosys said its Audit Committee found no evidence of financial impropriety or executive misconduct. The panel had looked into the allegations contained in anonymous whistle-blower complaints, conducted an independent investigation and determined that the allegations were substantially without merit, the company said in a stock market filing. It may be recalled that in October 2019, the Infosys board received anonymous whistle-blower mails raising a bunch of allegations against managing director and chief executive officer Salil Parekh and CFO Nilanjan Roy.
(Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
91 10-01-2020 - Foreign envoys in J&K on a fact-finding visit – A 15-member foreign envoys’ delegation arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir and met over 100 people, including senior Valley-based politicians, top newspaper editors and grassroots representatives. They were seeking feedback on the ground situation post the revocation of the State’s special status, Pakistan’s attempts at interference and the immediate demands of the people.Unlike the controversial tour of the European Union (EU) parliamentarians in October 2019, these envoys, including U.S. Ambassador to India Kenneth I. Juster and the Norwegian Ambassador, drove past busy streets from the airport to reach Lalit Grand Palace Hotel. (Indian Politics, Social Issues)
92 10-01-2020 - JNU students beaten up during march – Several students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) were beaten up by Delhi police personnel as they tried to march towards Rashtrapati Bhavan after ‘unsatisfactory’ talks with officials of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry. At least four students received injuries when police used ‘mild force’ to disperse the march. Around 11 students were also detained but later released. (Education, Indian Politics)
93 10-01-2020 - SC rebuffs plea to implement CAA – Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde said the country was already going through difficult times and an endeavour should be made to maintain peace. The CJI made the oral comments while hearing a petition seeking an ‘aggressive’ implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which fast-tracks benefits of citizenship to illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan belonging to six minority religions but denies the same treatment to Muslims. (Constitution and Law, People and Personalities)
94 10-01-2020 - Nirbhaya case - two convicts file curative pleas –Curative petitions were filed in the Supreme Court by two convicts in the Nirbhaya case. The petitions come just days after a Delhi sessions court scheduled the execution of the four convicts at Tihar Jail on January 22. Vinay Sharma and Mukesh, in separate curative petitions, said there had been a sea change in the death penalty jurisprudence. They argued that ignoring the subsequent changes in the law against the death penalty would be a “gross miscarriage of justice”. (Constitution and Law, Social Issues)
95 10-01-2020 - U.P. tops list in crimes against women – The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) published the annual Crime in India Report 2018. It was published with provisional data, as five States — West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim — did not send clarifications sought by the NCRB despite repeated reminders. The 2017 annual crime report was published on October 21 last year, after a delay of two years. (Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics)
96 10-01-2020 - Panel approves scheme to ‘trade’ in forests – The Forest Advisory Committee, an apex body tasked with adjudicating requests by the industry to raze forest land for commercial ends, has approved a scheme that could allow “forests” to be traded as a commodity. If implemented, it allows the Forest Department to outsource one of its responsibilities of reforesting to non-government agencies. In the current system, industry needs to make good the loss of forest by finding appropriate non-forest land — equal to that which would be razed. (Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
97 10-01-2020 - Iran plane crash - Ukraine to probe possible missile strike–Investigators will look into the possibility that a missile shot down the Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed in Iran, but not rule out a range of other possibilities for the disaster that killed at least 176 people. Investigators were following up on unconfirmed reports that fragments of a Russian-made Tor surface-to-air missile — a system used by Iran — had been found near where the plane came down. Ukraine was negotiating with Iran to allow the investigators to search the crash site near Tehran for possible rocket fragments. (Defence and Military, Regional Politics, World Politics)
98 10-01-2020 - British royals feel hurt by the way Harry and Meghan quit – Britain’s royal family is hurt and disappointed by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle’s surprise announcement that they will step back from their senior roles and spend more time in North America.Prince Harry and Ms. Markle’s decision to step away from royal duties sent shock waves through the royal family as neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, had been consulted on the announcement, made on Instagram. (People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
99 10-01-2020 - 60 listed firms disclose Rs. 75,000 cr. Default – A directive by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for companies to disclose loan defaults at the end of every quarter has led to almost 60 listed entities disclosing a cumulative default amount of almost Rs. 75,000 crore as on December 31, 2019. More importantly, there are nine companies that have defaulted on loans worth more than Rs. 1,000 crore each even as bulk of the overall default amount pertains to companies belonging to the Anil Ambani Group. (Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
100 10-01-2020 - SBI to extend completion guarantee for home projects – State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, has announced a new product which provides completion guarantee for particular residential projects. The lender will refund the amount to the home buyer which was paid to the developer if occupancy certificate for the project is not received within a particular time-frame. The scheme — Residential Builder Finance with Buyer Guarantee (RBBG) — is applicable to home loans from SBI for certain projects that will be identified by the bank. The scheme will focus on the affordable housing segment with home price of up to Rs. 2.50 crore in seven Indian cities initially, and will be extended to 10 cities, Rajnish Kumar chairman, SBI, said at a press conference. (Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
101 09-01-2020 - Trump backs away from further conflict after Iran hits U.S. troops – U.S. President Donald Trump said that Iranian missile strikes on bases in Iraq had not harmed any U.S. troops stationed there and damage was minimal, an outcome he said showed Tehran wanted to prevent an escalation into conflict. Iranian forces fired missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq, saying it was in retaliation for the killing in a U.S. drone strike of powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3. It is remarkable that for now, both sides apparently seem to be standing down, and not escalating the conflict. (People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
102 09-01-2020 - Ukrainian plane crash in Iran kills all 176 on board - no hint of foul play – A Ukrainian airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran killing all 176 on board, mainly Iranians and Canadians. Search and rescue teams were combing through the smoking wreckage of the Boeing 737 flight from Tehran to Kiev but officials said there was no hope of finding anyone alive. The vast majority of the passengers on the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight were non-Ukrainians, including 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians. (Defence and Military, Regional Politics, World Politics)
103 09-01-2020 - DU students march against JNU violence – Thousands of Delhi University students took to the streets in support of JNU students and teachers, who were brutally beaten by masked attackers, and also demanded the scrapping of the CAA-NRC-NPR regime. As demands for bringing the masked perpetrators to justice continued, the stand-off in JNU is expected to continue with the Central government showing no indication of removing Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar from the post as demanded by students. (Constitution and Law, Education, Indian Politics)
104 09-01-2020 - Bihar shelter home girls alive - CBI to apex court–Thirty-five girls believed to have been murdered in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case had been found to be alive, the CBI told the Supreme Court. Allegations about the ‘murders’ had first surfaced last year in the statements of girls rescued from the shelter home run by kingpin Brajesh Thakur in Bihar. The CBI had also found that the names of these had mysteriously disappeared from the balikagarh (girls’ home). In March 2019, the agency told the court that 35 girls with identical or similar names had indeed lived in the shelter home at one point of time or the other. Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal, for the CBI, said the agency had tracked each and every one of the 35 girls. This sexual harassment case was one of the most heinous in recent times. (Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues)
105 09-01-2020 - Cabinet nod for FDI in coal mining – The Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to amend two laws to ease mining rules, enabling foreign direct investment in coal mining. At a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ordinance to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, and Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, was approved, Parliamentary Affairs and Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said at a press conference. (Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics)
106 09-01-2020 - Re-grassing is mandatory after mining, rules SC – The Supreme Court ordered that mining lease holders should be held responsible for re-grassing mined areas, so that biodiversity gets a second chance in these scarred landscapes. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde ordered the government to include re-grassing of mined areas as a mandatory condition in every mining lease, environmental clearance and mining plan across the country. Environmental issues caused by mining include erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, and contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water by chemicals from mining processes, and the effects persist for years, the court was told. (Constitution and Law, Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
107 09-01-2020 - ‘2019 was Seventh warmest year since 1901’ –Though the rise in average temperatures over India in 2019 was the lowest since 2016, according to a report from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the year that went by was the 7th warmest, since record-keeping commenced in 1901. During the year, the annual mean surface air temperature was +0.36C above average (defined as the mean temperature from 1980-2010). The highest warming observed over India was during 2016, 0.71C above the mean. While 2018 was the 6th warmest in India with 0.41C above the mean, 2017 was 0.55C warmer. According to the World Meteorological Organisation, the rise in global mean surface temperature during 2019 (January to October) was +1.10C. (Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Geography)
108 09-01-2020 - We will end U.S. presence in West Asia - Iran–Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the ballistic missiles strikes Iran launched at U.S. troops in Iraq earlier in the day was a “slap in the face” of America.Iran launched over a dozen missiles at al-Asad and Erbil military bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops in retaliation for the killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by the U.S.The attack emboldened Iran’s allies in Iraq, who ramped up threats to avenge top Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was killed with Soleimani.

(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
109 09-01-2020 - 10,000 camels to be killed in drought-hit Australia – Snipers took to helicopters in Australia to begin a mass cull of up to 10,000 camels as drought drives big herds of the feral animals to search for water closer to remote towns, endangering indigenous communities. It comes after Australia experienced its hottest and driest year on record in 2019, with the severe drought causing some towns to run out of water and fuelling deadly bushfires that have devastated the country's southeast.The five-day cull in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands — home to about 2,300 indigenous people in the north-west of South Australia — is the first in the State. (Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Geography)
110 09-01-2020 - Mutual funds’ asset base slips 2% in Dec. –The mutual fund industry saw its asset base slip by 2% to Rs. 26.54 lakh crore at December-end, primarily on account of outflow from debt-oriented schemes, including liquid funds. The 44-player industry logged all-time high assets under management (AUM) of Rs. 27.04 lakh crore at November-end, as compared to Rs. 26.54 lakh crore by the end of last month, representing a decline of 2%, according to data from the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi). Mutual fund houses witnessed an overall outflow of Rs. 61,810 crore last month as compared to an inflow of Rs. 54,419 crore in November. (Indian Economy, Regional Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
111 07-01-2020 - JNU students, staff want V-C removed – The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) and the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) demanded the immediate removal of JNU Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar following the brutal attack by masked goons on the university campus, on a Sunday night. Under fire for allowing the violence to continue, the Delhi police said an FIR had been registered against “unknown persons” for rioting and damage to property. No arrests have been made so far. The entire episode has led to multiple protests across India, but no firm action so far against culprits.
(Education, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities)
112 07-01-2020 - Delhi poll on Feb. 8, counting on Feb. 11 – The election to the 70-member Delhi Assembly will be held on February 8 and the votes will be counted on February 11, the Election Commission announced. At a press conference at the EC headquarters, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the poll notification would be issued on January 14. The last date for filing of nominations is January 21, scrutiny will be done on January 22 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is January 24. Mr. Arora said 1,47,03,692 electors — 1,46,92,136 general category and 11,556 service voters — were eligible to vote in the poll to be held at 13,750 polling stations.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
113 07-01-2020 - New satellites will help Gaganyaan crew – India plans to ring in its own era of space-to-space tracking and communication of its space assets this year by putting up a new satellite series called the Indian Data Relay Satellite System. The IDRSS is planned to track and be constantly in touch with Indian satellites, in particular those in low-earth orbits which have limited coverage of earth. n the coming years, it will be vital to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), whose roadmap is dotted with advanced LEO missions such as space docking, space station, as well as distant expeditions to moon, Mars and Venus.
(Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
114 07-01-2020 - State can regulate minority institutions: SC – The Supreme Court held that the State is well within its rights to introduce a regulatory regime in the “national interest” to provide minority educational institutions with well-qualified teachers in order for them to “achieve excellence in education.” The managements of minority institutions cannot ignore such a legal regime by saying that it is their fundamental right under Article 30 of the Constitution to establish and administer their educational institutions according to their choice.

(Constitution and Law, Education, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Religion)
115 07-01-2020 - House to vote on limiting Trump’s war powers – U.S. lawmakers have few options for tamping down any escalation by President Donald Trump of tensions with Iran, despite Democrats’ outrage over his failure to inform Congress in advance about a strike against a top Iranian military commander. Members of Congress begin to return from their year-end holiday recess, and Democrats said they will attempt quickly to pass legislation to bar him — or any future U.S. commander-in-chief — from conducting a campaign against Iran without obtaining Congress’ approval.
(Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, World Politics)
116 07-01-2020 - China’s PLA begins major military drill in Tibet – The Chinese army has begun major military exercises in the high-altitude Tibet bordering India, deploying latest weapons, including the Type 15 light battle tank and the new 155-MM vehicle-mounted howitzer. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Tibet Military Command started its New Year exercises in which it has deployed helicopters, armoured vehicles, heavy artillery and anti-aircraft missiles across the region from Lhasa, capital of Tibet, to the border defence front lines with elevations of more than 4,000 m.
(Defence and Military, Regional Politics, World Politics)
117 07-01-2020 - Pakistan arrests main accused in Nankana Sahib vandalism case – The main accused in the recent vandalism at the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab province was arrested and charged with a non-bailable section of the stringent anti-terrorism act and blasphemy. Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, also known as Gurdwara Janam Asthan, is a site near Lahore, where the first Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak, was born. The suspect, identified as Imran Chisti, is the elder brother of Mohammad Hassan, who married a teenage Sikh girl in September 2019 after allegedly abducting and converting her to Islam, triggering a controversy. Chisti, a government employee working in the Fisheries Department, was arrested for his role in the violent incident at the Gurudwara in Nankana.
(Governance and Institutions, Regional Politics, Religion, Social Issues)
118 07-01-2020 - 1917 wins big at Golden Globes – War epic ‘1917’ shocked the Golden Globes by claiming the top prize for best drama film, while Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ won the most honours, massively boosting their prospects for next month’s Oscars. ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ — an homage to 1960s Tinseltown — won three prizes, including best comedy, but Martin Scorsese’s much-vaunted Netflix crime saga The Irishman went home empty-handed.
(Art Culture Literature, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
119 07-01-2020 - Equities plunge amid global sell-off over West Asia fears – Indian equities lost heavy ground amid a global sell-off as investors turned jittery due to increasing geopolitical tension in the West Asia region which threatens to push up international price of crude, of which India is one of the biggest importers globally. The 30-share Sensex lost 787.98 points, or 1.90%, to close at 40,676.63. As many as 28 constituents of the index ended the day in red, with stocks such as HDFC, HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India and Tata Steel among others shedding more than 2% each.
(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
120 07-01-2020 - Tata-Mistry case: NCLAT no to modifying verdict – The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) dismissed the petition of the Registrar of Companies seeking modification of its judgment in the Tata-Mistry case and said the ruling had not cast any aspersions on the RoC. The RoC wanted the part blaming it for allowing an “illegal action” to be struck off.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, People and Personalities)
121 06-01-2020 - Iraqi MPs vote to expel U.S. troops – The Iraqi Parliament called on the government to work to end all foreign troop presence in the country as the backlash grew against the killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a U.S. strike in Baghdad. A resolution passed by a special session of Parliament said the government should cancel its request for assistance from a U.S.-led coalition. Parliament resolutions, unlike laws, are non-binding. But this one is likely to be heeded: Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had earlier called on Parliament to end foreign troop presence as soon as possible.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)

(Constitution and Law, Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
122 06-01-2020 - India condemns killing of Sikh youth in Pakistan – India strongly condemned the murder of a Sikh citizen of Pakistan in Peshawar and urged the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to stop attacks on religious minorities. A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) pointed to Islamabad’s inaction in several cases of violence against Sikhs and urged Pakistan to punish the perpetrators.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)

(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
123 06-01-2020 - Karnataka’s Challakere to be ISRO’s astronaut training hub – India’s world-class facility for training astronauts will come up not in the space headquarters in Bengaluru, nor in any glitzy metropolis. It will be established in three years at Challakere, a shrubby, arid oilseeds town on the Bengaluru-Pune NH4 in Chitradurga district of Karnataka. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed a ₹ 2,700-crore master plan to create top infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)

(Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
124 06-01-2020 - NAL wants govt. push for Saras takeoff – The government needs to be the “launch customer” to make Saras Mk2 commercially viable, the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), which has developed the first indigenous light transport aircraft, told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology. The 19-seater aircraft, developed with a target cost of ₹50 crore, is at least 20-25% lower in cost than other aircraft in the similar category. The aircraft has been in the making for long. The first prototype flew in 2004. But without the initial push from the government, the manufacturing capacity required for commercial production could not be set up.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
125 06-01-2020 - ‘Investors wary of uncertain tax administration in India’ – Uncertainty in tax administration is one of the key threats to private investments in the country, the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association said in a presentation made a Parliamentary panel on Finance. The presentation lists five major threats to private investors in the country. The first is “increased frictional costs on capital mobility, including dividend distribution tax, buy-back tax and so on, which diminishes returns prospects,” the association noted. A similar demand was recently made by Association of National Exchanges Members of India.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
126 06-01-2020 - Army to sign MoU for 7.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles – The Army is likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a month for the procurement of over 7.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles, which are to be manufactured locally by an India-Russia joint venture (JV). The Defence Ministry has already floated a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the supply of 6.71 lakh rifles.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)

(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
127 06-01-2020 - U.S. will target 52 sites if Iran retaliates: Trump – President Donald Trump warned that the U.S. would hit dozens of targets in the Islamic Republic if it retaliates for the killing of the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, in Iraq. Showing no signs of seeking to reduce tensions raised by the strike on Friday that he ordered, the U.S. President issued a stern threat to Iran on Twitter.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)

(Defence and Military, Energy, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Economy, World Politics)
128 06-01-2020 - Bangladesh orders arrest of ‘fugitive’ former Chief Justice – A Bangladesh court ordered the arrest of former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and 10 others on charges alleging they embezzled nearly half a million dollars. Justice Sinha headed the South Asian nation’s Supreme Court for a landmark verdict on judicial independence that went against the government, but fled Bangladesh in late 2017 amid allegations he had been forced to step aside.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
129 06-01-2020 - Military base used by U.S. forces in Kenya attacked – Jihadists from Somalia’s Al-Shabaab group stormed a military base used by U.S. forces in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region, destroying several aircraft and military vehicles. Attackers breached heavy security at Camp Simba at dawn but were repelled and four jihadists were killed. Al-Shabaab has launched regular cross-border raids since Kenya sent troops into Somalia in 2011 as part of an African Union force protecting the internationally backed government — which the jihadists have been trying to overthrow for more than a decade.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Defence and Military, Regional Politics, Religion, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
130 06-01-2020 - Women scientists seek conducive workplaces – Better childcare facilities, safer laboratories and more funding for research projects were some of the issues that women scientists and researchers batted for to make the work environment more conducive. Several scientists spoke on the side-lines of the Women’s Science Congress, as part of the Indian Science Congress, about how institutions and the government can ensure that not only more women choose science, but they remain in their field instead of dropping out.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Education, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
131 04-01-2020 - U.S. kills top Iranian General in Iraq air strike - The U.S. killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, in an air strike near Baghdad airport, the Pentagon and Iran said. Top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Gen. Soleimani, was also killed in the attack authorised by U.S. President Donald Trump. The impact on India can be severe, if crude oil price spiral out of control.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute

(Defence and Military, History, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, World Economy, World Politics)
132 04-01-2020 - PM asks students to innovate, patent - Prime Minister Modi called upon students to “innovate, patent, produce and prosper”, in his inaugural speech at the 107th Indian Science Congress at Bengaluru. Mr.Modi emphasised that digitalisation, e-commerce, Internet banking and mobile banking services were assisting the rural population significantly. He said that technology can be harnessed for several rural development initiatives, particularly in the area of cost-effective agriculture and farm-to-consumer supply chain network. The organisers claim they took special care to weed out unscience from this year’s proceedings!
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Education, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
133 04-01-2020 - CM Pinarayi writes to 11 CMs on CAA - Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to 11 Chief Ministers, urging them to emulate the model set by the Kerala Assembly in passing a resolution demanding that the Centre scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) 2019. Mr. Vijayan’s move to elicit the cooperation of 11 States in the fight against the CAA comes in the wake of BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao filing a petition with the Rajya Sabha Chairman for initiating breach of privilege proceedings against him for passing the resolution.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute

(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
134 04-01-2020 - Special provisions likely for J&K residents in jobs, land rights - The Centre is all set to provide protection to domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir in government jobs, educational institutions and land rights. The Centre is exploring the option of implementing the mandatory requirement of continuous stay in the region for a minimum of 15 years before applying for a job in the government sector and for admissions in schools and colleges in the Union Territory of J&K.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues)
135 04-01-2020 - Nobel winner’s prescription: put money in the hands of the poor - Economics Nobel Prize winner Abhijit Banerjee said instead of cutting corporate taxes, the government should be putting it in the hands of poorer people who will spend it immediately and kick-start demand in the economy. He was speaking at the launch of his book, Good Economics for Hard Times, along with his co-author and fellow prize winner Esther Duflo. Banerjee was a brain behind the Congress’s Basic Income scheme proposed in 2019.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
136 04-01-2020 - Don’t punish a child for marrying a female adult: SC - The anti-child marriage law does not intend to punish a male aged between 18 and 21 years for marrying a “female adult,” the Supreme Court has held in a recent judgment. A Bench led by Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar was interpreting Section 9 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, which says: “whoever, being a male adult above 18 years of age, contracts a child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.”
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute

(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
137 04-01-2020 - Iran vows revenge after U.S. kills General - A furious Iran threatened to avenge a U.S. strike that killed a top Iranian commander at Baghdad’s international airport, raising fears of a wider regional conflict between the arch-foes. The Pentagon said U.S. President Donald Trump had ordered Qasem Soleimani’s “killing” after a pro-Iran mob this week laid siege to the U.S. Embassy in the Iraqi capital. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised “severe revenge” for Soleimani’s death, the biggest escalation yet in a feared proxy war between Iran and the U.S. on Iraqi soil.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Politics)
138 04-01-2020 - U.S. drone attack sets gold price on fire - The impact of the U.S. drone strike killing a top Iranian military commander was visible in most market segments in India as gold prices spiked, while equities fell, and the rupee plunged to a one-and-a-half-month low. While gold prices in the spot market surged by around ₹1,000 per 10 gm, rupee fell by 42 paise to end at 71.80 against the U.S. dollar amid a spike in crude prices. Equities, however, managed to recoup some of the losses as the benchmark Sensex closed at 41,464.61, down 162.03 points, or 0.39%.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute

(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Economy, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Economy, World Politics)
139 04-01-2020 - Ratan Tata moves SC against NCLAT verdict to reinstate Mistry - Chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Private Limited, Ratan N. Tata, moved the Supreme Court against the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s (NCLAT) judgment restoring Cyrus Mistry as its chairman, saying the verdict had virtually pulled down the governance and corporate structure painstakingly built by the founders of the Indian multinational conglomerate. Tata Sons has already moved the apex court against the NCLAT’s decision of December 18.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
140 04-01-2020 - Adani to buy 75% in Krishnapatnam Port - Adani Ports and Logistics and Special Economic Zone Ltd. (APSEZ) will be acquiring 75% stake in Krishnapatnam Port Co. Ltd. (KPCL) in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh for a total consideration of ₹13,572 crore from the CVR Group, the company said in a filing. The balance stake will be held by the CVR Group. The acquisition is in line with APSEZ’s strategy of expanding its footprint in Andhra Pradesh. The transaction would accelerate APSEZ’s move towards handling 400 million tonnes (MT) of cargo by 2025, said APSEZ in its statement.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21 | Contribute to Mission PT - https://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
141 03-01-2020 - PM asks CAA opponents to protest against Pak. ‘atrocities’ - Taking a dig at those protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “If they want to carry out agitations, let them carry out agitations against the oppressions of Pakistan against its minorities, including Dalits, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, for the past 70 years.” Addressing thousands of students and seers of various Mutts on the premises of the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru, Mr. Modi said instead of carrying out agitations against Pakistan which was “oppressing” its minorities, the anti-CAA protesters were opposing the Union government for implementing the CAA and the NRC to safeguard the interests of the minorities in Pakistan and other.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, History, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
142 03-01-2020 - NCLAT decision is a recipe for disaster, Tatas tell SC - The multi-billion salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Sons Private Limited appealed to the Supreme Court saying the December 18 decision of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) to reinstate Cyrus Mistry as its chairman is a blow to corporate democracy and rights of the Board of Directors. The 180-page appeal said the tribunal crossed its jurisdiction by terming the appointment of incumbent N. Chandrasekaran illegal while restoring Mr. Mistry as Chairman.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
143 03-01-2020 - AIADMK suffers a setback in rural local body polls - The ruling AIADMK suffered a setback in the rural local body polls held in 27 districts with the DMK racing ahead in panchayat unions and district panchayat wards as per results/trends. Crowdsourced trends were available only for 350-odd of the 515 district panchayat member posts and 2,900-odd of the 5,090 panchayat union ward posts, while the State Election Commission declared the results for much fewer posts. The DMK had won in 727 of 1,632 seats the results of which were declared for the post of panchayat union ward members as of 11.30 p.m. The AIADMK was lagging by nearly 170 seats, as its candidates had won only in 556 seats.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21

(Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
144 03-01-2020 - India records less than 100 tiger deaths for the first time in three years - For the first time in the past three years, the number of tiger deaths in a year in the country has been less than 100. According to data from the Ministry of Forest Environment and Climate Change (MoEFCC), there were 84 cases of tiger deaths in the country and 11 cases of seizures (in which a tiger is presumed dead on the basis of body parts seized by authorities). Both put together, the number of tiger deaths in 2019 was 95.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Infrastructure, Social Issues)
145 03-01-2020 - Science Congress takes ‘extra care’ to avoid pseudo-science - On the eve of the 107th Indian Science Congress (ISC), set to commence in Bengaluru, organisers said they had taken “special care” to ensure that ‘pseudo-scientific’ articles or talks did not creep in. At last year’s ISC at Lovely University, Jalandhar, G. NageswaraRao, the then vice-chancellor of Andhra University, asserted that the Kauravas of the Mahabharata were born of the stem-cell technology and test-tube baby science, and that Rama and Ravana had fought with ‘guided missiles.’ While pseudo-scientific remarks at the congress are not unprecedented — in 2015, at the event in Mumbai, there was an entire session dedicated to ‘aircraft from the Vedic age’ — Mr. Rao’s remarks stood out, as it was the first time a senior scientist from a well-regarded institution had made such comments.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Social Issues)
146 03-01-2020 - Architects question land use change for Central Vista revamp - Several architects have raised concerns over the Centre’s proposed change of land-use of plots in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi to make way for a new Parliament House, residences and office buildings, flagging the potential reduction in land for general public use as well as the lack of a scientific study to justify the amendment of the Master Plan for Delhi-2021 (MPD). As part of the project, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on December 21, 2019 issued a notification inviting suggestions and objections to its proposed land-use change in the Master Plan. A 9.5-acre-plot opposite the existing Parliament House, currently earmarked for recreational use, was proposed to be changed to “Parliament House”, and a 15-acre plot near South Block to “residential”. Comments were invited for a period of 30 days.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Art Culture Literature, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
147 03-01-2020 - Taiwan’s top military official killed in crash - Taiwan’s top military official was among eight people killed, after a helicopter carrying them to visit soldiers crashed in a mountainous area near the capital Taipei. The main portion of the helicopter lay in a northern forest wreathed in mist, its blades shattered, as dozens of rescuers combed the wreck for survivors, pictures released by emergency authorities showed. The reasons for the crash, in the wake of a forced landing, were unknown. The chief of general staff, Air Force General Shen Yi-ming, had died, while five of the 13 aboard survived.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
148 03-01-2020 - Relief for Netanyahu as SC refuses to rule on his eligibility - With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under indictment, Israel’s Supreme Court refused to weigh in on whether a prime ministerial candidate charged with serious crimes can be asked to form a new government. The decision gave Mr. Netanyahu a temporary reprieve ahead of a general election on March 2 and staved off a potential showdown between the government and the judiciary. He took the contentious step of asking Parliament to grant him immunity from prosecution. Mr. Netanyahu is Israel’s first sitting Prime Minister to be charged with crimes and the first to run for re-election while under such a serious legal cloud.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)  

(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
149 03-01-2020 - Sugar output drops by close to a third - The country’s sugar production has fallen sharply by 30.22% to 7.79 million tonne (MT) in the first three months of current marketing year ending September, but ex-mill prices have remained stable so far, helping mills clear cane payment to farmers on time. However, sugar exports are happening at a good pace. Mills have so far contracted for shipment of over 2.5 MT of sugar under the government’s MAEQ (Maximum Admissible Export Quantity Quota). Ex-mill sugar prices have remained steady in the range of ₹3,250-3,350 per quintal in north India and at ₹3,100-3,250 per quintal in south India.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Agriculture, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
150 03-01-2020 - ONGC won all 7 oil, gas blocks - State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) walked away with all the seven oil and gas blocks on offer in the latest bid round that saw just eight bids coming in. ONGC signed contracts for the seven blocks at an event where Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and other Ministry officials were also present. The latest licensing round for allowing companies to explore for oil and natural gas was held on revamped terms but saw only ONGC and Oil India Ltd. participating. ONGC put in bids for all seven blocks on offer, while Oil India put in an offer for one block at the close of bidding on October 31, 2019.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Energy, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
151 02-01-2020 -
Gaganyaan, Chandrayaan-3 in mission mode, says ISRO - Four pilots from the Indian Air Force (IAF) will leave for Russia this month to receive training as astronauts of Gaganyaan, the first Indian crewed flight to space. They were shortlisted after a series of fitness and endurance tests, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan announced. The initial tests were conducted in the IAF’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bengaluru, and Russia. The four will leave in the third week of January to be trained at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Centre in Moscow, as per an agreement signed between the space agencies of the two countries in 2019.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
152 02-01-2020 - Peace on LAC can help solve border issue: Army chief - Maintaining peace and tranquility on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China can set the stage for an eventual solution to the border issue, Army chief Gen. M.M. Naravane said. Stating that both the western and northern borders were equally important, Gen. Naravane said that while we had been giving attention in the past to the western front, “the northern front also now requires equal attention.” “It is in this context we are now going in for capability enhancement on our northern borders, which includes the north-east parts of the country.”
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)  

(Defence and Military, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
153 02-01-2020 - Peace on LAC can help solve border issue: Army chief - Maintaining peace and tranquility on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China can set the stage for an eventual solution to the border issue, Army chief Gen. M.M. Naravane said. Stating that both the western and northern borders were equally important, Gen. Naravane said that while we had been giving attention in the past to the western front, “the northern front also now requires equal attention.” “It is in this context we are now going in for capability enhancement on our northern borders, which includes the north-east parts of the country.”
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)  

(Defence and Military, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
154 02-01-2020 - GST gross revenue crosses Rs. 1 lakh crore - Goods and Services Tax gross revenue crossed the one lakh crore-mark for the second successive month, with a collection of Rs. 1.03 lakh crore in December. This is almost 9% higher than the December 2018 GST collection of Rs. 94,726 crore. While the December 2019 collection of Rs. 1,03,184 crore is slightly lower than the November 2019 collection of Rs. 1,03,492 crore, it does signal a trend of recovery after gross GST revenue dipped below the one lakh crore mark for the previous three months. The amount still falls short of the ambitious Rs. 1.1 lakh crore monthly target the Centre set last month for the remainder of the fiscal year.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
155 02-01-2020 - Puducherry CM rules out any rethink on SEC appointment - Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy ruled out any rethink on the appointment of former bureaucrat T.M. Balakrishnan as State Election Commissioner (SEC). In the wake of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) directing the government to select the SEC in a “transparent” manner, Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy pointed out that the MHA had not cancelled the appointment. Hence, Mr. Balakrishnan would oversee the upcoming local body polls, he stated.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities)
156 02-01-2020 - ‘No automatic conviction for abetment of suicide’ - A person accused of dowry harassment cannot be automatically convicted for abetment of suicide, the Supreme Court has held in a judgment. A Bench of Justices NavinSinha and B.R. Gavai held that “even if it is established that the woman concerned had committed suicide within a period of seven years from the date of marriage and that her husband has subjected her to cruelty, the court is not bound to presume that suicide has been abetted by her husband.” The court is required to take into consideration all other circumstances of the case, it said.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
157 02-01-2020 - 8 new buildings likely under new Central Vista - Eight new government office buildings, a new Parliament House and a residential complex near the South Block that could house the homes of the Prime Minister and the Vice-President are among the projects under consideration for the Centre’s redevelopment of the Central Vista. The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) is likely to issue tenders for individual projects for the revamp of the 3-km-long Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan till the India Gate, construction of a new Parliament building and a common Central Secretariat for Ministries, by February 2020.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Art Culture Literature, History, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
158 02-01-2020 -
Protesters end siege of U.S. Embassy in Baghdad - Pro-Iran demonstrators left the besieged U.S. Embassy in Baghdad after the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force ordered them to withdraw a day after their dramatic incursion. Thousands of Iraqi supporters of the largely Iranian-trained Hashed had encircled and vandalised the Embassy compound, outraged by U.S. air strikes that killed 25 Hashed fighters over the weekend. They marched unimpeded through the checkpoints of the usually high-security Green Zone to the Embassy gates, where they broke through a reception area, chanting “Death to America” and spraying pro-Iran graffiti on the walls.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Defence and Military, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
159 02-01-2020 - Tear gas fired at Hong Kong protesters during march - A huge New Year’s Day pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong ended in mass arrests and police firing tear gas at hardcore protesters, as demonstrators sought to carry their movement’s momentum into 2020. The Civil Human Rights Front, the umbrella group which organised the march, claimed that more than a million people participated in rally, which had approval from the authorities. But after a peaceful start, violence erupted within hours, with police and masked protesters facing off in several neighbourhoods on the city’s main island.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Politics)
160 02-01-2020 - Auto sector sluggish through December 2019 - The year 2019 ended on a mixed note for the auto sector with carmakers such as Maruti Suzuki and M&M posting a growth in domestic passenger vehicle wholesales in December and players like Tata Motors, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota witnessing a decline as many manufacturers adjusted deliveries to dealers ahead of the transition to BS-VI vehicles. Market leader Maruti Suzuki posted a 2.5% rise in its domestic passenger vehicle wholesales at more than 1.22 lakh units in December 2019 against 1.19 lakh units in the year-earlier month.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Regional Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
161 02-01-2020 - IRDAI fines Maruti, Hero broking firms - The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has imposed a penalty of Rs. 3 crore on Maruti Insurance Broking (MIBL) and Rs. 2.18 crore on Hero Insurance Broking India (HIBIL) for not complying with the Motor Insurance Service Provider (MISP) guidelines. In separate orders, the Authority directed the entities to make certain changes for compliance and improved governance. Taking serious note of the affidavit filed by the respective Principal Officers of MIBL and HIBIL, the regulator said the affidavits were contrary to the facts. Hence, it directed the entities to not pay performance incentives to the respective Principal Officer for one year, from the date of order.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
162 01-01-2020 - Finance Minister unveils plans for Rs. 102 lakh cr. infra projects - Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman outlined plans to invest more than Rs. 102 lakh crore in infrastructure projects by 2024-25, with the Centre, the States and the private sector sharing the capital expenditure in a 39:39:22 formula. This will be a significant increase over the last six years, when the Centre and the States together spent Rs. 51 lakh crore on infrastructure. On Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced plans to invest Rs. 100 lakh crore in modern infrastructure. This is the expenditure needed to achieve a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
163 01-01-2020 - Indore, Jamshedpur lead Swachh 2020 table - Indore and Jamshedpur have topped the cleanliness charts for two consecutive quarters among cities with over 10 lakh population and with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population respectively. Kolkata remained at the bottom of the ranking of 49 major cities across both quarters as West Bengal did not participate in the nationwide exercise. The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) announced the results of the first and second quarters of the Swachh Survekshan 2020.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
164 01-01-2020 - Film-maker, professor allege attack in Kolkata - Kolkata-based photographer and film-maker Ronny Sen was allegedly manhandled for participating in protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Kolkata. Mr. Sen filed a police complaint, where he accused one Avijit Dasgupta of harassing him for his anti-CAA, NRC stance. The incident took place in the upmarket Salt Lake area.
(Art Culture Literature, Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
165 01-01-2020 - Assam stir to spawn new party - The protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Assam may yield a new political party catering to sub-national aspirations. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which is leading the protests, said it was working on channelling the public anger against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s “obsession” with the CAA to form a regional political entity. Other organisations and artistes passionate about protecting the indigenous people from cultural and linguistic threats would be on board.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues)
166 01-01-2020 - One-fifth of country’s forests prone to fires: study - About 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires, with forests in the north-eastern region and central India being the most vulnerable, the 2019 report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI). The finding has emerged from a study carried out by the FSI along forest fire points identified across the country from 2004 to 2017. The forest fire points (FFP) identified during the 13 years add up to 2,77,758. They were analysed using a moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) by overlaying the points coverage over the grid coverage of 5 km x 5 km.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
167 01-01-2020 - ED attaches assets worth Rs. 128 cr. of Pixion Media - The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs. 127.74 crore of Pixion Media Private Limited and its group companies in connection with an alleged Rs. 2,600-crore bank fraud scam. The properties attached by the agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act include two commercial plots and nine commercial floors of the group companies in Noida, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata. The ED probe is based on seven FIRs and chargesheets filed by the CBI.

(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
168 01-01-2020 - Protesters attack U.S. Embassy in Iraq - Iraqi supporters of pro-Iran factions attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, breaching its outer wall and chanting “Death to America!” in anger over weekend air strikes that killed two dozen fighters. It was the first time in years protesters have been able to reach the U.S. Embassy, which is sheltered behind a series of checkpoints in the high-security Green Zone. A stream of men in military fatigues, as well as some women, marched through those checkpoints to the Embassy walls with no apparent reaction from Iraqi security forces. The demonstrators waved flags in support of the Hashed al-Shaabi, a mostly Shia network of Iraqi armed groups that has received training and weapons from Iran.
(Defence and Military, Regional Politics, Terrorism, United Nations, World Politics)
169 01-01-2020 - Taiwan passes law to combat China influence - Taiwan passed a controversial bill aimed at countering China’s influence on the self-ruled island, less than two weeks before it goes to the polls to elect a new President. The “anti-infiltration Bill” pushed by President Tsai Ing-wen’s Beijing-sceptic ruling party became law despite strong objection from the Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party. It bans “hostile” foreign forces from activities such as campaigning, lobbying, making political donations, disrupting social order or spreading disinformation related to elections. Violators face a maximum five-year prison term and a fine of up to around $3,32,000.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)  

(Constitution and Law, Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Economy, World Politics)
170 01-01-2020 - Al-Shabab claims deadly bombing in Somalia - Somali Islamist group Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for a truck bomb in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed at least 79 people last week, including many students. The claim of responsibility was made by the group’s spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage in an audio post on pro-Al-Shabab websites. Al-Shabab, which is allied to Al-Qaeda, carries out frequent bombings in the capital. The explosion came at rush hour as Somalia returned to work after its weekend. Most of those killed were university and other students returning to class.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Defence and Military, Social Issues, Terrorism, World Politics)
171 01-01-2020 - Current account deficit narrows to 0.9% of GDP - India’s current account deficit (CAD) narrowed to 0.9% of GDP, or $6.3 billion, in the September 2019 quarter, on account of lower trade deficit. It had stood at 2.9% of the gross domestic product (GDP), or $19 billion, in the corresponding quarter of 2018-19. On a sequential basis, CAD had printed 2% of GDP, or $14.2 billion, in the June 2019 quarter. The contraction in the CAD was primarily on account of a lower trade deficit at $38.1 billion as compared with $50 billion a year ago.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21




(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
172 30-12-2019 - No legal rules framed yet for NRC: Ravi Shankar Prasad - Union Law Minister Prasad clarified that while there is a “possibility” that the National Register for Citizens (NRC) “may take place”, it will only be through a due legal process, with rules for it being defined “through adequate consultation”.  Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Prasad said, “Prime Minister Modi has clarified that no discussion has taken place so far. There is a possibility that it [the NRC] may happen, but there is a legal process attached to it; NRC preparation has a distinct legal process to be initiated, with defining of rules with adequate consultations. But nothing has been done so far.” He added that the data for the same “would be collected, scrutinised by the registrars, appeals will be heard, but most importantly, the Registrar-General will have to notify the period and duration of the exercise in the official gazette. Nothing so far, not a word, has been done so far.”
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Religion, Social Issues)
173 30-12-2019 - Hemant back as Jharkhand CM - In a second stint at the helm, Hemant Soren, executive president of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, was sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Jharkhand in Ranchi on Sunday. Governor Draupadi Murmu administered the oath to Mr. Soren. Two MLAs of the Congress and one of the Rashtriya Janata Dal were inducted into the Ministry. At the ceremony, parties opposed to the BJP found a common platform to display bonhomie. Exactly a month ago, Uddhav Thackeray had taken oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister, which was seen as a loss for the BJP in the power game in the face of rare Opposition unity. At a time when countrywide protests are erupting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens, the presence of Opposition leaders assumed significance.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(History, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
174 30-12-2019 - M.P. gets its first elephant colony in Bandhavgarh forest - In November 2018, elephants in herds, 38 of them, wandered into the forests of Bandhavgarh looking for food and water, like each year. A year on, they have stayed back in Madhya Pradesh for the first time over seasons and even bred two new calves, choosing not to return to the withering forests of north Chhattisgarh. The herd has found plenty of space, food and water within the core area of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, and that’s why it may have stayed back, believes Reserve Deputy Director Sidharth Gupta. Stating that the species is migratory,and often travels hundreds of miles to look for newer habitats with enough food and water, he says: “The animals came in herds of 20, 10 and eight over two months last year. That we have two new members now indicates that the species is comfortable.”
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
175 30-12-2019 - 3 years on, a mere 30% of Poshan Abhiyaan funds used - The State governments and the Union Territories utilised a mere 30% of the funds released under the Poshan Abhiyaan, or the National Nutrition Mission, since it was launched in 2017. Barring Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar, none of the governments used even half of the sum granted in the past three years, according to an analysis of the data shared in Parliament. The Poshan Abhiyaan, the Centre’s flagship programme, is aimed at improving nutritional outcomes among pregnant women, lactating mothers and children by reducing the level of stunting, underweight, anaemia and low birth weight by 2022. It is meant to benefit more than 10 crore people and was launched after a Cabinet decision on December 1, 2017, with a total budget of ₹9,046.17 crore for three years, 50% of which is through budgetary support, which is further divided into 60:40 between the Centre and the States, 90:10 for the north-eastern region and the Himalayan States and 100% for the Union Territories without legislature.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
176 30-12-2019 - Five people stabbed at New York rabbi’s home in ‘terrorist’ attack - An intruder stabbed and wounded five people at a rabbi’s house in a New York suburb, in an incident the State Governor said was “an act of terrorism” after a spate of attacks on Jewish targets. Local media reported that a man with a machete entered the rabbi’s property in Monsey, Rockland County, during celebrations for the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, knifing several people before fleeing. Victims were rushed to nearby hospitals, with no official details on their injuries. The police said a suspect was later arrested.
(Defence and Military, Social Issues, Terrorism, World Politics)
177 30-12-2019 - Turkey evacuates victims of Somalia bomb blast - A Turkish military plane on Sunday evacuated 16 gravely wounded victims of a devastating bombing that killed 79 people and overwhelmed local health services, in the latest attack on a city dogged by insecurity. The aircraft also brought doctors to help treat the some 125 people injured in blast, which happened when a vehicle packed with explosives detonated at a busy security checkpoint. No group has claimed the bloody attack, however President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has blamed Islamist group Al-Shabaab, which regularly carries out car bombings and other attacks on the capital, in their decade-long bid to topple the internationally-backed government. Bombing was the deadliest since truck exploded in 2017 near a fuel tanker, creating a fireball that killed over 500 people.
(Defence and Military, Social Issues, Terrorism, World Politics)
178 30-12-2019 - 3 Indians die in Egypt accident - Three Indians were killed and 13 others injured when two buses carrying tourists crashed into a truck in Egypt’s Suez governorate, the Indian Embassy said. The buses were heading to the beach-resort town of Hurghada when they collided with the truck near Ain Sokhna town, about 120 km east of Cairo. The Embassy said there were 16 Indian tourists on the buses. According to the local media, the deceased also include two Malaysians and three Egyptians. More than 20 people were injured and rushed to the hospital.
(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
179 30-12-2019 - Blast hits military parade in Yemen - A missile fired by the Iran-aligned Houthi group struck a military parade in Yemen’s town of al-Dhalea, killing at least six people and injuring others, government-allied southern separatist forces who control the area said on Sunday. No claim of responsibility was made and Houthi media did not immediately comment on the blast or accusation. The missile struck a parade ground where a military graduation for Security Belt forces had just finished, statements from the Security Belt group and the al-Dhalea southern separatist forces said. The Security Belt forces are part of a government-aligned southern separatist front in south Yemen which favours the creation of an independent state. They are also backed by the United Arab Emirates in a fight against Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group.
(Defence and Military, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Politics)
180 30-12-2019 - Taliban council agrees to ceasefire in Afghanistan - The Taliban said on Sunday it has agreed to a temporary ceasefire. It provides a window during which a peace agreement with the U.S. could be signed. A peace deal would allow Washington to bring home its troops from Afghanistan and end its 18-year military engagement there. The U.S. wants any deal to include a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not use as a base by terrorist groups. The Taliban chief must approve the agreement but that is expected. The duration of the ceasefire was not specified but it is being suggested it would last for 10 days. Members of the Taliban negotiating team met for a week with the ruling council before they agreed on the ceasefire. The team returned on Sunday to Qatar, where they maintain their political office.
(History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Politics)
181 30-12-2019 - Ukraine rivals exchange 200 prisoners in controversial swap - Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists in the country’s war-torn east exchanged 200 prisoners on Sunday, swapping detained fighters for civilians and servicemen held captive in some cases for years in two breakaway regions. Kiev handed over to separatists five riot policemen suspected of killing protesters during a pro-Western uprising in 2014 as part of the swap, sparking public outrage. “The mutual release of the detainees has ended,” the Ukrainian presidential office said in a statement on Facebook, adding that it would provide more details later. The presidency said Kiev received 76 captives, while separatist officials said the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics took in a total of 124. The head of the Lugansk stronghold, Leonid Pasechnik, congratulated his people on a new “victory” ahead of the New Year's festivities.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute
(Governance and Institutions, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
182 30-12-2019 - EU’s wines, cars may get cheaper - The government is indicating flexibility in reducing import duties on wines & spirits and automobiles as part of the longpending free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU). The two products were among a bunch of a set of contentious issues where India was unwilling to lower import duties a few years ago, resulting in a deadlock. But efforts have begun to resume dialogue on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) in recent months with Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging the issue with German chancellor Angela Merkel. This was followed by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal following it up with Merkel and also writing to Phil Hogan, the new EU trade commissioner.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Regional Economy, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
183 30-12-2019 - Startups again beat D-St in funding - Startups and venture capital-backed companies raised more than Rs 1 lakh crore during calendar 2019 — 26% more than the over Rs 81,000 crore raised by companies in equity capital markets, as the gap with money flowing into India’s digital economy widens. In 2018, startups had raised 18% more capital than Indian equity markets. That was the first year when the gap emerged in favour of startups. The continuing expansion of the difference underlines the slowdown in the overall economy, hitting sectors like fast moving consumers goods (FMCG), even as technology startups have been able to mostly buck the trend till now. Back in 2017, which was the last time when total capital flows into startups had set a record high, equity markets were able to mop up double that amount (see graphic). The Indian startup ecosystem saw a 35% increase in capital invested this year compared to 2018, setting a fresh record. But the number of startups that attracted funding fell by 17% as more money flowed into fewer companies, according to data intelligence platform Tracxn. Global investor interest in local tech startups has been high in the backdrop of growing proliferation of smartphones and internet, the China-US trade war making India more attractive, and the large exit from Flipkart last year (where Walmart acquired 77% stake for $16 billion) proving money can be made.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute
(Indian Economy, Regional Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
184 30-12-2019 - PE/VC investments hit record $37bn this year - Amid turbulent times for the private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) world in the US and China, 2019 was a recordsetting year for investments through this route in India. PE/VC investment activity (excluding real estate) rose to the highest ever level of $37 billion from 861 transactions this year on the back of large-ticket infrastructure deals, according to data from research firm Venture Intelligence “The fact that the PE investment tally of 2019 outdid the previous high of 2018 — despite uncertainties on the economic, political and global trade fronts during the year — is very encouraging,” Venture Intelligence founder Arun Natarajan said. But global and domestic slowdown will make investors cautious in 2020, he anticipates. As many as 74 high-value deals worth $100 million or more were clocked in the year, accounting for 74% of the total value in the period.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
185 30-12-2019 - China to switch to new benchmark lending rate - China’s central bank ordered lenders to adopt a new loan-pricing regime for all credit from next year, marking an end to the previous benchmark and another step toward liberalising the financial system. Financial institutions should stop using the old lending rate as the pricing reference for all credit from January, while gradually converting existing loans to a new base — the loan prime rate (LPR) — from March to August, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said. The one-year lending rate had provided the previous anchor for loans across the economy. The move could lower costs for some of the 152 trillion yuan ($21.7 trillion) in yuan-denominated outstanding loans held by financial institutions and boost economic growth, even though it won’t involve a straightforward cut to interest rates. The LPR — set at 4.15% for one-year tenor in December — is lower than the benchmark rate at 4.35%. Against the backdrop of the long-term slowdown in the economy, policymakers are further opening the financial system to outsiders, while making it more market driven in some respects. At the same time, officials are keen to control the pace of change as they try to weed out bad debt, while keeping the system stable.
(Regional Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy, World Politics)
186 27-12-2019 - NPR: house-to-house verification planned - The Narendra Modi government proposes to update the National Population Register (NPR), which already has an electronic database of more than 119 crore residents, by verifying the details of all respondents through house-to-house enumeration, according to an official manual for conducting the fresh NPR exercise. The NPR exercise has become controversial because the Citizenship Rules, 2003, link the Population Register to the creation of a National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) or National Register of Citizens. Coupled with the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which excludes Muslims, fears about an NPR-NRC have brought lakhs of people on to the streets in protest. More than 20 people have been killed during the protests, most of them in Uttar Pradesh.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Religion, Social Issues)
187 27-12-2019 - Army chief says leading crowds for arson is not leadership - Students leading crowds to carry out arson and violence is not leadership, the outgoing Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, said in an apparent reference to the protests across the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). It is unusual for a serving Army chief to comment on the country’s civilian affairs, and the remarks drew sharp criticism on social media and from political parties. “Leaders are not those people who lead people in inappropriate directions, as we are witnessing in a large number of university and college students, the way they are leading masses of crowds to carry out arson and violence in our cities and towns. This is not leadership,” Gen. Rawat said at an event in the national capital.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Defence and Military, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
188 27-12-2019 - Two injured from Firozabad die in Delhi hospitals - Mohammed Haroon, 30, and Mohammed Shafeeq, 40, from Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh, who were shot during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on December 20, died of their injuries at hospitals in Delhi. Haroon’s relatives were at the trauma centre of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where the body was kept. A few others were at the hospital police post completing the procedure. His brother-in-law, Zaki Sheikh, said Haroon’s four sisters were waiting for him to come back home in good health. The family members said that they were in the buffalo trade. They used to go to the weekly market at Rasulpur for business.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Religion, Social Issues)
189 27-12-2019 - Scientists get air borne for special view of the eclipse - A group of astrophysicists and space enthusiasts took to the skies for a special view of the solar eclipse .A six-seater Beechcraft C-90 aircraft flew at 21,000 feet with a clear view of the sun and the organisers dedicated this first eclipse flight to Narendra Dabholkar and Shreeram Lagoo, both of whom were associated with the anti-superstition movement. Among those on the hour-long observational flight were Director of Nehru Planetarium Arvind Paranjape, Head of the Centre of Excellence for Astrobiology in Mumbai and Amity Space Centre, Delhi, Siddharth Pande, astronomer Ananda Hota, and Gateway House fellow of the Space and Ocean Studies Programme Chaitanya Giri. The astro tourism event was jointly organised by Space Geeks — a group that promotes space and astronomy — and private jet operator MAB Aviation. To ensure that the eclipse was clearly visible, Space Geeks had provided pocket-sized telescopes with filters that were fitted to the mobile phones of those on board.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
190 27-12-2019 - People perform ‘half burials’ of children - Despite efforts to clear misconceptions surrounding the solar eclipse, people in parts of Karnataka continued to follow practices that are not founded in science. Among the bizarre were cases of children with disabilities being buried neck deep in compost pits during the eclipse in, Vijayapura and Tumakuru districts, with the belief that it would cure them. There were cases of three children being buried neck deep in Taj Sultanpur village on the outskirts of Kalaburagi by their parents till the solar eclipse ended. A team of rationalists, including Shrishail Ghooli, Ravindra Shahabadi and Sarangdhar Deshikendra Swami of Sarang Mutt in Srisailam reached the spot and told the parents that such practices would only cause further health problems.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Art Culture Literature, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
191 27-12-2019 - Closure of Aahar Kendras in Odisha invites criticism - The decision to close down Aahar Kendras in view of the annular solar eclipse has invited criticism from rationalists in Odisha, who said that the move only promoted superstitious beliefs regarding food intake during eclipses. Aahar Kendras provide subsidised meal for ₹5 to the needy. There are 19 such centres in Ganjam district.  People, especially the poor who are the key beneficiaries of the programme, were shocked to see notices at the Aahar Kendras in the State. stating that the centres were to remain closed for the solar eclipse. According to authorities of Manna Trust, which manages Aahar Kendras in Ganjam district, the decision was taken as a large number of people do not eat during the day on a solar eclipse due to religious beliefs. The authorities ordered closure of the centres fearing that there might be wastage of food.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Religion, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
192 27-12-2019 - Two soldiers killed during bridging exercise in Pune - Two jawans were killed and five others injured during a bridging exercise on the premises of the College of Military Engineering (CME) in the city’s Dapodi area. A unit was training on a mobile bridge used in surmounting obstacles in rough terrain when the mishap occurred, resulting in serious injuries to seven jawans, two of whom died later. The deceased were identified as lance havildar Sanjivan P.K. and Naik Waghmode B.K. During the training of bridge construction, the tower support collapsed and six-seven troops were injured. They were immediately shifted to Military Hospital in Kirkee and the Command Hospital. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered for investigating the incident and the next of kin of the deceased soldiers have been informed.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Defence and Military, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
193 27-12-2019 - Violent protests rock Iraq over PM pick - Iraq’s President said he was “ready to resign” rather than put forward the candidate of a pro-Iranian coalition for the post of Prime Minister, deepening the country’s political crisis. Barham Saleh’s announcement came as anti-government protesters blocked roads and bridges in Baghdad. In the southern city of Nasiriyah, demonstrators set the provincial government building ablaze overnight for a second time since the protests began. Protesters also torched the new headquarters of a pro-Iran militia in Diwaniyah. In a letter to Parliament, Mr. Saleh said he wished to guarantee the “independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity” of Iraq. But he cited the Constitution, which obliges the President to task the candidate put forward by Parliament’s biggest bloc with forming a government.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute)
(History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
194 27-12-2019 - Russian authorities raid Alexei Navalny’s office - Russian authorities raided the headquarters of Opposition politician Alexei Navalny, using power tools to gain entry before dragging Mr. Navalny out by force and confiscating technical equipment such as laptops. Mr. Navalny and his allies said the raid on his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) was carried out by the Federal Bailiffs Service and was connected to his refusal to delete a video investigation which levelled graft allegations against Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov. The Federal Bailiffs Service said it was carrying out investigative activities at Mr. Navalny’s foundation as part of a criminal investigation.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
195 27-12-2019 - China, Russia and Iran to hold naval drills in Gulf of Oman - China, Russia and Iran will hold joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman, and Tehran said, at a time of heightened tensions since the U.S. withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran. Set to take place from December 27 to 30, the military exercises aim to “deepen exchange and cooperation between the navies of the three countries”, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told reporters. Mr. Wu said the Chinese navy would deploy its Xining guided missile destroyer — nicknamed the “carrier killer” for its array of anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles — in the drills. For Iran, the drill’s purpose was to bolster “international commerce security in the region” and “fighting terrorism and piracy,” said senior armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Aboldazl Shekarchi.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
196 27-12-2019 - Protesters march through malls - Hundreds of protesters marched through shopping malls disrupting business in the Asian financial hub for a third day over the festive period and prompting the riot police to close off a mall in a tourist district. The “shopping protests” have targeted malls across the Chinese-ruled city since Christmas Eve, turning violent at times with the police firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators in areas filled with shoppers and visitors. While the turnout was smaller than on the previous two days, the riot police stepped up patrols at shopping centers on the Kowloon peninsula and in the rural New Territories.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Politics)
197 27-12-2019 - Netanyahu faces party leadership challenge - Israel’s embattled premier Benjamin Netanyahu faced a challenge for the leadership of his Likud party from a longtime rival, former Interior Minister Gideon Saar. Likud’s roughly 1,16,000 eligible voters have until 11 p.m. to choose between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Saar. A defeat for Mr. Netanyahu, 70, would be a shock, but even a relatively close result could weaken his influence over the conservative party he has dominated for 20 years.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute)
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
198 27-12-2019 - Pakistan files review petition in army chief’s extension case - The Pakistan government filed a review petition against the Supreme Court’s decision about legislation on the extension of service of Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. A three-member Bench headed by then Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on November 28 granted a six-month extension to Gen. Bajwa after being assured by the government that Parliament will pass a legislation on the extension /reappointment of an army chief within six months. The ruling came in the nick of time as Gen. Bajwa, 59, was set to retire at midnight on November 28.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Regional Politics)
199 27-12-2019 - More 5G spectrum sale on anvil - Preparations have started to bring in more 5G spectrum to be put on sale towards the end of 2020. This comes in the wake of the Centre’s decision to conduct auctions for more than 8,300 Mhz of spectrum, including those to be used to offer 5G service, in March-April next year. The Department of Telecom (DoT) will soon seek the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendation on the auction of spectrum in the 24.75 to 27.25 Ghz band, which is considered highly suited to 5G services deployment.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
200 27-12-2019 - New wagon to boost cargo capacity - The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India, Ltd. (DFCCIL) tasked with building the over ₹81,000 crore freight corridor in the country, began testing a new wagon that will help boost the cargo carrying capacity by four times due to increased length of the train, use of double-stack containers and more payload carrying capability. “The new wagon — called BLCS (type A & B) — is currently a prototype. A total of three such wagons have been manufactured with inputs from the industry as to what their requirements are,” said Ved Prakash, GM (operations), DFCCIL. The wagon — used for hauling freight — have been tested by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) and are manufactured at the Golden Rock Railway Workshop in Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu. These wagons will be under trial till January 26, 2020. If approved by the RDSO, wagons will be manufactured commercially as per industry requirements.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
201 26-12-2019 - U.P. tense as PM calls for introspection - Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced the damage to public property in Uttar Pradesh during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and asked those who indulged in vandalism “in the name of protest” to introspect if their path was right. Stressing that the rights and duties of citizens go hand in hand, Mr. Modi said while getting a safe environment was the right of a citizen, it “is the duty of every citizen” to honour the work of the police responsible for security. He was addressing a gathering after unveiling a statue of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary at the Lok Bhavan.
(Indian Politics, Religion, Social Issues)
202 26-12-2019 - Massive locust invasion in Gujarat - Sharing borders with neighbouring Pakistan, Gujarat is under attack from hoppers — new-born locusts — that have flown in across the international border. As the swarms mature, they have ravaged farms in north Gujarat, devastating farms in the three border districts — Banaskantha, Patan and Kutch. The locusts, known as tiddis locally, have wreaked havoc on standing crops including castor, cumin, jatropha and cotton, and fodder grass in around 20 talukas. Gujarat has not witnessed such an invasion of locusts since 1993-94. According to local experts, the State administration has been caught napping despite an alert from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of a massive locust attack in South Asia, covering Pakistan and India.
(Agriculture, Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
203 26-12-2019 - It was a brutal attack, say AMU students - Stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear-gas shells have all become part of student parlance at Aligarh Muslim University following a crackdown by the police on December 15, leaving several of them severely injured. One had his hand amputated. While most students have since left the campus, those residing in Aligarh, some of whom continue to stage protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, demanded answers from the police over the use of “excessive force” and from the administration for letting it happen. Following rumours that some students had been killed during a police crackdown at Jamia Milla Islamia on the evening of December 15, students reportedly began gathering at the university’s Bab-e-Sayed gate. Since Section 144 of the CrPC had been imposed in Aligarh, students were not allowed to assemble outside the campus.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
204 26-12-2019 - NPR form images spark confusion - Confusion prevailed after images of forms of ‘National Population Register (NPR) 2020’ seeking details on “place of birth of father and mother” started doing the rounds on social media, even though Home Minister Amit Shah clarified a day ago that there was “no link between NPR and NRC.” The  form or the schedule to collect data for the NPR had not been finalised yet. Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted an image of ‘NPR-2020’, saying that “NPR will be raw Data of NRC.” The pre-test form is used during the trial stage and the final schedule is prepared after taking feedback from the respondents.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
205 26-12-2019 - Study warns of growing cancer burden across India - A study tracing the growing burden of cancer in India states that most of the increase in cancer incidences are attributable to its epidemiological transition and improvement in the use of cancer diagnostics. The country's cancer burden will continue to increase as a result of the ongoing ageing of India and improving access to cancer diagnostics in rural India, said Mohandas K. Mallath of the Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, and Robert Smith from Kings College, London, in a recent paper: History of Growing burden of Cancer in India: From Antiquity to 21st century. The paper was published in the Journal of Global Oncology which is promoted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The study has stated that while cancer-like diseases were documented since antiquity, recording of cancer in India began in the 19th century when the Western practices of biopsy and pathological examination came to India during the colonial British regime.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
206 26-12-2019 - CBI probes Yamuna Expressway scam in U.P. - The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken over the probe into an alleged Rs. 126-crore scam in the acquisition of land in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura for the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA). Its former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) P.C. Gupta and 20 others are accused in the case. Over 57 hectares of land has been acquired in the seven villages of Mathura for Rs. 85.49 crore. An internal probe revealed that months ahead of the acquisition, the associates and relatives of YEIDA officials had purchased the land parcels from villagers. Sham companies were also used to buy the land.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
207 26-12-2019 - Groups call for ban on surgeries on intersex minors - Intersex individuals and rights organisations have sought a national ban on unnecessary medical surgeries conducted on children with intersex traits and appealed to the Union government to protect their human rights. The demand for a nation-wide ban comes months after the Tamil Nadu government banned normative surgeries on infants and children except in life-threatening situations after a historic judgment of the Madras High Court on April 22. If adopted nationally, India could become only the third country after Malta and Taiwan, to have a legal regime which protects the rights of intersex children. The demand for a nationwide legislation emerged at the first national conference on intersex human rights organised by Srishti Madurai in partnership with Intersex Asia in New Delhi.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Infrastructure, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
208 26-12-2019 - Maharashtra reviews security cover of prominent citizens - Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar’s security cover has been downgraded, while that of Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray upgraded to ‘Z’ category.  The changes in security cover were made after a review was undertaken by a Maharashtra government committee on threat perception to them, he said. Security cover of over 90 prominent citizens were reviewed by the committee at a recent meeting. Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has been given ‘Z’ security cover with more security personnel.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
209 26-12-2019 - Request for no water cut ahead of eclipse refused - A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator’s request to the Municipal Corporation (PMC), urging the civic body to postpone its weekly water cut on grounds that citizens in her ward would need to perform rituals after the solar eclipse on December 26 has drawn condemnation from the anti-superstition outfit — the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS). Manjushri Khardekar said she would give a written request to Mayor Murlidhar Mohol in this regard. The PMC implements water cuts in several parts of the city every Thursday for carrying out essential maintenance and pipeline repair work.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute

(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Governance and Institutions, Religion, Science and Technology, Social Issues)
210 26-12-2019 - Activists continue Hong Kong protests despite Christmas - Hong Kong anti-government protesters marched through Christmas-decorated shopping centres, chanting pro-democracy slogans and forcing one mall to close early, as the police fired tear gas to disperse crowds gathering on nearby streets. The riot police patrolled several neighbourhoods while tourists and shoppers, many wearing Santa hats or reindeer antlers, strolled past. There were no major clashes, but with impromptu crowds forming to shout expletives at the unpopular officers, who have been accused of using excessive force, the police briefly fired tear gas in Mong Kok, a popular protest area. The protests have turned more confrontational over the festive season, though earlier in December they had been largely peaceful after pro-democracy candidates overwhelmingly won district council elections. Despite the embarrassing results, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leaders have made no new concessions.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Politics)
211 26-12-2019 - Typhoon Phanfone arrives - It pummelled the central Philippines on Christmas Day, bringing a wet, miserable and terrifying holiday to millions in the mainly Catholic nation. The police said six people were missing as the typhoon leapt from one small island to another for the second day — crumpling houses, toppling trees and blacking out cities and towns, including in popular resorts like Boracay. At the height of the festive season, tens of thousands were stranded at shuttered ports or evacuation centres, while the rest of the region’s population cowered in rain-soaked homes. Though weaker, Phanfone was tracking a similar path to Super Typhoon Haiyan, the country’s deadliest cyclone on record which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013. More than 16,000 people spent the night in improvised shelters in schools, gyms and government buildings as the typhoon first made landfall.
(Contribute to Mission PT - spreading free education - http://pteducation.com/contribute)
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Infrastructure, Regional Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
212 26-12-2019 - Pope Francis appeals for peace in global flashpoints - Pope Francis appealed for peace in many of the world’s hotspots, singling out the crises in the Middle East, Venezuela and Lebanon as well as armed conflicts ravaging many African countries. In the Middle East, notably Iraq and Yemen, the Pope lamented that “so many people — struggling but not discouraged — still await a time of peace, security and prosperity.” The Argentinian Pope, noting that in South America “a number of nations are experiencing a time of social and political upheaval,” urged that “the beloved Venezuelan people... receive the aid they need.” Pope Francis denounced attacks on Christians in Africa and prayed for victims of conflict, natural disasters and disease in the world’s poorest continent.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
213 26-12-2019 - 35 civilians killed in terrorist attack in Burkina Faso - Burkina Faso was in mourning after jihadists killed 35 civilians, almost all of them women, in double attacks in the north, in one of the deadliest assaults in nearly five years of violence in the West African country. Seven soldiers and 80 jihadists also died in simultaneous attacks on the town of Arbinda and its military base in Soum province, which lasted “several hours” and was of a “rare intensity”, the army said. Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger, has seen regular jihadist attacks which have left hundreds dead since 2015 when militant violence began to spread across the Sahel region.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21) (Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Politics)
214 26-12-2019 - NITI member bats for 2 GST slabs - Government think-tank NITI Aayog Member Ramesh Chand made a case for only two slabs under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime as against the current multiple slabs, and said rates should be revised annually, if required. The GST, which replaced almost all the indirect taxes, came into force on July 1, 2017 and the tax rates have been revised several times since then. Currently, there are four GST rate slabs — 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. Several items fall in the exempt or nil duty category. Besides, cess is also levied on five goods. Mr. Chand said that when a large taxation reform such as GST is brought in, there are always ‘teething problems’ but soon they stabilise. He said most of the countries took a long time for GST stabilisation.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
215 26-12-2019 - NTPC to invest Rs. 50,000 cr. for 10 GW solar capacity - State-owned power giant NTPC is planning to add 10 GW of solar energy generation capacity by 2022, which entails an investment of around Rs. 50,000 crore, to be funded mainly by green bonds. At present, NTPC has installed renewable energy capacity of 920 MW, which constitutes mainly solar energy. It has formulated a long-term plan to become a 130 GW company by 2032 with 30% non-fossil fuel or renewable energy capacity.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Energy, Indian Economy, Infrastructure)
216 22-11-2019 - Zee to change hands: Subhash Chandra’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.’s (ZEEL) stock closed 12.4% higher to Rs. 345.25 apiece on the BSE after promoter Essel Group sold close to 16% stake in the open market. According to NSE data, 14.29 crore shares of ZEEL were traded in a block deal at Rs. 304 per share, valuing the transaction at Rs. 4,343.19 crore. The firm said the Essel Group was planning to sell up to 16.5% stake in ZEEL to financial investors to repay loans. As a result of the transactions, the overall holding of the group in ZEEL will be 5%, out of which encumbered holdings of the Group will reduce to 1.1% only.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)

(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
217 21-11-2019 - Selling the PSUs off: The Union Cabinet approved the government’s proposal to sell its entire 53.29% stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced. However, BPCL’s 61.65% share in Numaligarh Refinery Limited will be transferred to a public sector company operating in the oil and gas space. The government will also sell its entire 63.75% stake in the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) and will cede management control. Similarly, it will sell its 30.8% stake in the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) and hand over management control. The government will sell its entire 74.23% stake in THDCIL and its 100% stake in the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation to NTPC Ltd. and also cede control.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure)
218 21-11-2019 - Bringing NRC to entire India: The process of creating a National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be undertaken across India, Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Rajya Sabha and whenever it is done, the exercise will be repeated in Assam, he added. He was replying to a question by Congress MP from Karnataka Syed Nasir Hussain. As a supplementary, nominated MP Swapan Dasgupta asked whether the government would make a distinction between illegal migrants and non-citizens. Trinamool MP Sukendu Sekhar Ray said 11 lakh Hindu Bengalis were excluded from the NRC in Assam. It may be noted that Bangladesh has been assured by the govt that none identified in NRC (Assam) will be "deported" to that country.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues)
219 21-11-2019 - Bhai Bhai: Sri Lanka’s Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa will be sworn in as Prime Minister by his younger brother and newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, following premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s resignation. Mr. Wickremesinghe announced his decision to step down, days after his party’s presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa lost to Mr. Gotabaya. The move enables Mr. Gotabaya to appoint a caretaker government until general elections, which he may choose to call by dissolving Parliament in March — when 4.5. years of its term is complete — or when the legislature’s full term ends in August.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
220 21-11-2019 - Kashmir perfectly normal: Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Rajya Sabha that normalcy had been restored in Jammu and Kashmir and not a single person had been killed in police firing since the legislation relating to Article 370 had been passed by Parliament. Replying to a separate question on whether the government would allow Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah to attend Parliament, Minister of State Kishan G. Reddy, without directly naming Dr. Abdullah, indicated that he was among persons that authorities had had to detain in the “national interest”. Also, for the first time since Parliament passed the legislation to withdrawn the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, the Home Ministry revealed that a total of 5,161 persons had been detained as part of preventive arrests made in the Valley since August 4.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Terrorism)
221 21-11-2019 - Fee hike problem: Office-bearers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) as well as student councillors from various schools at the university met the high-power committee set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development at Shastri Bhawan and aired their concerns regarding hostel fee hike. In a separate meeting, various deans of the university also met the three-member panel and explained to them the rationale behind the revision of hostel charges. The union said that it was were willing to arrive at a new hostel manual passed through an acceptable deliberative process. The committee members gave a patient hearing to the students and assured them of another meeting when they visit the campus.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Education, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
222 21-11-2019 - Warning AIMIM: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee twice warned Hyderabad-based Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), asking him to refrain from contesting in the Bengal polls, without naming him. In Assam, the predominantly Muslim All India United Democratic Front of Assam polled 13% of Bengali Muslim votes facilitating the BJP’s victory. The other factor is even more ominous for the TMC. A recent study on Muslim employment indicates that the number is not increasing in government jobs, despite the Opposition’s repeated allegation of Muslim appeasement against the TMC. In the Kolkata Municipal Corporation [KMC], for example, the number of Muslim employees has dropped from 1,555 in 2008 to 1,126 in 2019.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
223 21-11-2019 - Ministers individually liable: Senior advocate Harish Salve argued before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court that every government Minister is individually liable for the remarks he or she makes in public. A five-judge Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra is examining whether further “reasonable restrictions” should be imposed on the right to free speech of government Ministers to protect the fundamental right to dignity and life of ordinary citizens. The Bench is examining the question in the background of the public comments made by former Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan that the gruesome Bulandshahr gang-rape of a girl and her mother by bandits was a political conspiracy of the then State government led by Akhilesh Yadav.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
224 21-11-2019 - No more tying the pug: A slim, illustrated children’s book called The Art of Tying a Pug by Natasha Sharma, released two weeks ago, has attracted huge controversy with several Sikhs calling for its immediate withdrawal. The Chennai-based children’s publishing house, Karadi Tales, received more than one legal notice, with petitioners calling the book blasphemous, insulting and hurtful. On legal advice, the author and publisher have decided to withdraw the book. Ms. Sharma, a practising Sikh herself, grew up in Amritsar helping her father tie his turban or pagdi each morning, and this sparked the idea for the book. She teamed up with award-winning illustrator Priya Kuriyan, sending her videos of her father so she would get the details right.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Art Culture Literature, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
225 21-11-2019 - US on HK: The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted legislation supporting “human rights and democracy” in Hong Kong and threatening to revoke its special economic status, angering China which promptly summoned a U.S. diplomat and threatened countermeasures. The lawmakers also approved a measure that would ban the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other equipment that have been used by security forces to suppress protests for nearly six months. Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu summoned the acting U.S. charge d’affaires, William Klein, to lodge a “strong protest” and demand that the U.S. prevent the Bill from becoming law. U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad was out of the country.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Defence and Military, Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Economy, World Politics)
226 21-11-2019 - Trump was wrong: In what is likely to be an inflection point in the public impeachment inquiry into whether U.S. President Donald Trump violated his oath of office in his dealings with Ukraine, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, testified that he was part of a pressure campaign on Ukraine, which was undertaken at the direction of Mr. Trump. At the House Intelligence Committee impeachment hearing , Mr. Sondland also confirmed the existence of a quid pro quo, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Trump had wanted a public announcement by the Ukrainian administration that they were launching investigations that are likely to have benefited him politically in return for an invitation to Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenksy to the U.S.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
227 21-11-2019 - Iran pushes back: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country’s people had defeated an “enemy conspiracy” behind a wave of violent street protests and were celebrating their victory. He blamed the days of unrest on “armed anarchists”, who took to the streets “based on a plot that the region’s reactionary, the Zionists and Americans had hatched,” referring to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the U.S. The demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit Islamic republic after an announcement the price of petrol would be raised by as much as 200% with immediate effect. Motorists blocked major roads in Tehran before the unrest spread rapidly to at least 40 urban centres, with petrol pumps torched, police stations attacked and shops looted.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
228 21-11-2019 - Third election in 2019: Israel moved closer towards a new election after kingmaker Avigdor Lieberman declined to back either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or challenger Benny Gantz with a deadline on building a government about to expire. Neither Mr. Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, nor ex-General Gantz of the centrist Blue and White secured a ruling majority in Parliament in elections in April and September. Mr. Netanyahu, in office for the past decade, failed to put together a coalition after the inconclusive September election. Gen. Gantz was handed the task by President Reuven Rivlin next but his 28 days to form a government expire at midnight (2200 GMT).
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
229 21-11-2019 - RBI supersedes DHFL board: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to supersede the board of troubled mortgage financier Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd. (DHFL) and said bankruptcy proceedings would be initiated against the company. R. Subramaniakumar, former MD and CEO of Indian Overseas Bank, has been appointed as the administrator of the mortgage lender. RBI said the action was taken due to governance concerns and default by the entity in meeting payment obligations. This is the first instance of RBI superseding the board of a non-banking financial company. The government had changed the law earlier this year to give such powers to the RBI.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21

(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
230 21-11-2019 - AGR stays: The Centre told Parliament that it was not considering any proposal to either waive penalties and interest on outstanding statutory dues of telcos following the recent Supreme Court verdict on adjusted gross revenue (AGR) or extend the timelines to pay up the dues. Following the judgment, telecom firms now owe Rs. 1.47 lakh crore in licence fees (Rs. 92,642 crore) and spectrum usage charge (Rs. 55,054.51 crore), Minister of Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Lok Sabha. However, these are provisional outstanding amounts and are subject to revision in light of the Supreme Court ruling on the AGR matter. On whether the government plans to provide a waiver for penalties and interest on the non-payment of licence fee on AGRs by telecom service providers and whether the government was considering extending the time limit for the payment of licence fee, penalty, interest and other dues.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
231 20-11-2019 - Caught by Pakistanis: Two Indian nationals, one from Telangana and the other from Madhya Pradesh, were arrested by the Pakistani police for illegally entering the country. Prashant Maidam, a software engineer from Hyderabad, and Durmi Lal, a farmer from Madhya Pradesh, were arrested in the Cholistan desert area of Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province last week. The Bahawalpur police registered an FIR against them under the Pakistan (Control of Entry) Act on November 14. They had crossed the border without any identification papers and proper documents, such as a valid visa and passport. Mr. Maidam said that he was in love with a woman in Turkey and was going there through Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mr. Lal wanted to see the border and crossed over by mistake.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues)
232 20-11-2019 - NATGRID is arriving: The Lok Sabha was informed that the ambitious National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project will be operational by December 31, 2020. Presently more than half the sanctioned positions are vacant. The NATGRID will enable multiple security and intelligence agencies to access a database related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details, among others, from a common platform. The project, initially started in 2009 with a budget of Rs. 2,800 crore, is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information and putting them together on one platform. At least 10 Central government agencies, such as the Intelligence Bureau, the Research and Analysis Wing and others, will have access to the data on a secured platform.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
233 20-11-2019 - Nithyananda's misadventures: Controversial godman Nithyananda was caught in another controversy after being charged with illegally confining two daughters of a Bengaluru-based couple here. A petition has been filed in the Gujarat High Court by the couple, seeking its help to get back the girls from an ashram set up by Nithyananda, who faces rape charges. Janardana Sharma and his wife, in their habeas corpus petition, said they had admitted their four daughters in an educational institution run by the godman in Bengaluru in 2013, when they were in the age group of 7-15. However, their daughters were shifted to another branch of Nithyananda Dhyanapeetham, situated on the premises of the Delhi Public School in Ahmedabad, without their consent. When they rushed to Ahmedabad and tried to meet them, the officials at the institution did not allow them inside.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Religion, Social Issues)
234 20-11-2019 - Kashmir's economic ruin: Economic losses in Kashmir have run well over a billion dollars since India revoked its autonomy and statehood in August, the main trade body in the region said, adding that it planned to sue the government for damages. India turned its erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir into a federally-controlled territory, tightening control in a shock move it said would rein in militancy in the region and promote its development. But the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said development was elusive, thanks to a protracted shutdown after people closed markets and businesses as a mark of protest, and for fear of reprisals from insurgents.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Regional Economy, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
235 20-11-2019 - Road accidents: More than 1.5 lakh people lost their lives in road crashes in the country in 2018, registering an increase of 2.4% as compared to the year before, when there were 1.47 lakh fatalities. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways released the annual report on road accidents in India, which shows a daily average of 1,280 road crashes and 415 deaths. This translates into 53 crashes and the loss of 17 lives every hour. Road traffic injuries constitute the eighth leading cause of deaths in India in 2018.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Infrastructure, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
236 20-11-2019 - Most unsafe for road users: India is the most unsafe country in the world for road users across 199 countries, as reported by the Geneva-based World Road Federation’s World Road Statistics 2018. It’s followed by China (63,000 deaths) and the U.S. (37,000 deaths). The annual report also reveals that of the total people killed in road crash deaths in 2018, 48% were between 18 years and 35 years old. Minors involved in road crash deaths were at 6.6% of the total deaths.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, World Economy)
237 20-11-2019 - Permanent commission for women in Army: The Supreme Court said the armed forces should consider granting permanent commission to women officers under the Short Service Commission (SSC) before March 2019. The Army had notified permanent commission to women officers, who join the forces under SSC, after March 2019. The court asked the Centre to look at the positive side of granting permanent commission to women officers with retrospective effect, and expand the ambit of the benefit to those serving under SSC before March 2019.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Defence and Military, Social Issues)
238 20-11-2019 - Municipal elections in Rajasthan: The ruling Congress swept the municipal elections in Rajasthan, winning 965 of the 2,105 wards in 49 urban local bodies. The BJP trailed behind with 736 wards. The Congress dominated in most of the 49 civic bodies, situated in 24 districts. The results declared by the State Election Commission showed 385 independent candidates emerging victorious. The Bahujan Samaj Party’s candidates won in 16 wards, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) contestants won at three places.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
239 20-11-2019 - US gives big boost to Netanyahu: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed a U.S. announcement that it no longer considers settlements in the West Bank and annexed east illegal, but the Palestinians pledged new measures to oppose it. Mr. Netanyahu visited the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, where he told settler leaders he was “very moved” by the announcement made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. More than 6,00,000 Israelis live in settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, alongside more than 3 million Palestinians. The Arab League criticised Mr. Pompeo’s announcement, calling it an “extremely adverse development”.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Politics)
240 20-11-2019 - Julian Assange update: Swedish prosecutors said they have dropped their investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a 2010 rape allegation, even though they found the plaintiff’s claim “credible”. The investigation was launched after a Swedish woman who met Assange at a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm in August 2010 accused the Australian of having unprotected sex with her while she was sleeping. She said she had previously repeatedly refused to have unprotected sex with him. The statute of limitations in the case was to expire in August 2020. Mr. Assange has always denied the allegation.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Social Issues, World Politics)
241 20-11-2019 - PV sales: Retail sales of passenger vehicles in the country increased by 11% to more than 2.48 lakh units in October, with consumer sentiment turning positive amid the festive season, according to data released by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA). The data released showed that retail sales of two-wheelers were up by 5% to over 13.34 lakh units in the last month, as against more than 12.70 lakh units in October 2018. Commercial vehicle sales, however, continued to decline with a fall of 23% to 67,060 units as compared with 87,618 units in the year-ago month. Three-wheeler sales saw an increase of 4% to 59,573 units. Total sales across categories rose 4% to over 17.09 lakh units, as against more than 16.38 lakh units in the same month last year.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
242 19-11-2019 - Where is Farooq Abdullah: A united Opposition in the Lok Sabha attacked the Narendra Modi government over the detention of National Conference (NC) leader and Lok Sabha member Farooq Abdullah, calling it “illegal” and demanded his immediate release so that he could attend the winter session. On the first day of the new session, Opposition leaders also raised the issue of MPs not being allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir after the removal of its special status under Article 370, while a delegation of European Union (EU) lawmakers was allowed. Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s description of the delegation as one that was “hired on rent” invited strong protests from the Treasury benches, with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi urging the Speaker to remove the Hindi expression.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
243 19-11-2019 - PM praises NCP and BJD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the Rajya Sabha that all members, including those of his own party, should learn from the Nationalist Congress Party and the Biju Janata Dal, whose MPs follow the discipline of not rushing to the well. Mr. Modi said the House should play the role of a “check and balance” and not be “clogging and blocking.” Speaking during a discussion on the ‘role of the Rajya Sabha in Indian polity and the way forward’ at the start of the 250th session, he said the two parties had decided on their own not to jump into the well.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
244 19-11-2019 - JNU students protest: Scores of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) participating in a “long march” to Parliament House were injured in police lathi-charge when they tried to break through barricades set up at multiple spots in the city. The march was organised to “save public-funded education” and demand a “complete rollback” of the hostel fee The Union Human Resource Development Ministry tried to pacify the students, announcing ahead of the march that it had formed a three-member “high-power” committee to restore normal functioning of the university and initiate a dialogue with the students and the JNU administration. The students, however, continued with their planned march and thousands exited the campus to make their way towards Parliament House on the first day of the winter session.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Education, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues)
245 19-11-2019 - SPG cover removal dangerous: Ten days after the Special Protection Group (SPG) cover for the Gandhi family was withdrawn, the Congress said the alternative security protocol in place was “alarmingly unsafe and dangerous”. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children, former party president Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, were protected by the SPG until November 8. The Centre withdrew the SPG cover for the family on November 8 and replaced it with Z plus category of security — the highest outside the SPG — staffed by the CRPF. Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal told The Hindu that party leaders were extremely upset and concerned over the quality of the security being provided by the CRPF and the Delhi police.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)

(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
246 19-11-2019 - Bhutan to being charging tourists: In a major shift in policy, Bhutan plans to levy charges on tourists from regional countries, including India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, who at present are exempted from any charges. The new draft tourism policy, which is likely to be finalised by the Bhutanese Cabinet next month, was among issues to be discussed by visiting Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at meetings in New Delhi. The sharp increase in the number of tourists from the region was cited for the move. The MEA declined to comment on the policy. India has “some concern that the measures proposed should not cause too many hassles to Indian visitors,” and would want a predictable and reasonable policy.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Governance and Institutions, Regional Economy, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
247 19-11-2019 - Schemes not reaching beneficiaries: A vital govt. programme to support lactating mothers and pregnant women by compensating them for loss of wages during their pregnancy has been able to reach less than a third of the eligible beneficiaries, researchers who extrapolated from data obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act said. Almost 61% of beneficiaries registered under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) between April 2018 and July 2019 (38.3 lakh out of the total 62.8 lakh enrolled) received the full amount of Rs.6,000 promised under the scheme, according to an RTI reply. However, the researchers, who are development economists, assert that since the scheme failed to reach at least 49% of all mothers who would have delivered their first child (an estimated total of 123 lakh for 2017 according to the researchers), the scheme was able to benefit only 31% of its intended beneficiaries.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
248 19-11-2019 - Tamil superstars: At what was meant to be a concert by Ilaiyaraaja to celebrate actor Kamal Haasan completing 60 years in cinema, fellow film star Rajinikanth gave a speech about how ‘wonders’ could happen, opening up the possibility of Mr. Rajinikanth and Mr. Haasan joining hands to take on the Dravidian parties in the 2021 Assembly election. After actor Vijay's father S.A. Chandrasekaran set the ball rolling by saying he wished to see Mr. Rajinikanth and Mr. Haasan in an alliance for the 2021 polls, Mr. Rajinikanth appeared to take a dig at Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.
(Art Culture Literature, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
249 19-11-2019 - Hong Kong university protests: Dozens of protesters escaped a two-day police siege on a campus late by shimmying down a rope from a bridge to awaiting motorbikes in a dramatic and perilous breakout that followed a renewed warning by Beijing of a possible intervention to end the crisis engulfing the city. Clashes rumbled throughout the day between protesters and the police who had threatened to use deadly force to dislodge activists holed-up in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). The university siege has become a battle of wills between Hong Kong’s stretched police force and the constantly-innovating protest movement. Dozens of black-clad protesters used a rope to slither down several metres on to a motorway below where they were picked up by waiting motorbike riders.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Education, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
250 19-11-2019 - Gotabaya appeals: Sri Lanka’s new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has urged minorities — who emphatically voted against him in the recent election — to work with him to build the country. Mr. Gotabaya was sworn in , following a huge win in the November 16 presidential poll, with 52.25% votes. Beating his main challenger Sajith Premadasa by a margin of more than 13 lakh votes, he paved the way for his family’s return to power, five years after his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was dislodged from office. Mr. Gotabaya succeeds President Maithripala Sirisena, who did not seek re-election. Emphasising national security as a top priority, the 70-year-old President vowed to rebuild the state security structure.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Social Issues, World Politics)
251 19-11-2019 - US appeals to Rajapaksa: The U.S. has called upon Sri Lanka’s new President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to uphold Sri Lanka’s commitments to human rights and non-recurrence of violence, saying it stands ready to work with him. Mr. Gotabaya has a reputation for ruthlessness — he is accused of war crimes for his role during the civil war in Sri Lanka. The new President has cases against him in the U.S., including for torture. Mr. Gotabaya’s own human rights record is not the only cause for Washington’s wariness of the new government in Colombo. The U.S.- Sri Lanka relationship has been challenging, with China making inroads into the country during the 2005-2015 term of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mr. Gotabaya’s brother, when Sri Lanka drifted towards Beijing rather than New Delhi or Washington.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, United Nations, World Politics)
252 19-11-2019 - Sri Lankan politics and racism: It is unfair to attribute a “racist” dimension to the Tamil vote in Sri Lanka’s presidential election, according to senior Tamil leader R. Sampanthan. His remark comes a day after the election results were declared. The winner — newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa — garnered his 52.25% vote share almost entirely from areas where the majority Sinhalese community is concentrated. On the other hand, Sajith Premadasa — who was defeated — drew huge support in the north, east and central parts of the country that his home to Tamils and Muslims. All the same, the question of a vote on “racial lines” does not arise, said Mr. Sampanthan, who leads the Tamil National Alliance that endorsed Mr. Premadasa this election.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21

(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
253 19-11-2019 - AGR will kill the telcos: Reeling under the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling on adjusted gross revenue (AGR), Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel announced that they will be increasing tariffs from December, although both telcos did not specify the quantum. Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), India’s second largest telco by number of subscribers, has decided to increase the tariff from December 1, 2019, due to the acute financial stress in the telecom sector. However, the telco reiterated its commitment to play its due role in realising the vision of Digital India by continuing to provide seamless mobile services to customers across India despite posting a loss of Rs.50,921 crore for the second quarter, the highest in India Inc.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure)
254 19-11-2019 - RIL and RCom deal: Reliance Jio is likely to buy out bankrupt telco Reliance Communications (RCom), under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, with Bharti Airtel withdrawing its bids. This time, Mukesh Ambani’s offer to buy RCom will be at a steep discount compared to the Rs.25,000-crore deal between the Ambani brothers announced in December 2017. On request by Reliance Jio, RCom’s Committee of Creditors (CoC) has extended the deadline and has now decided to open the bid on November 25. A consortium of Bharti Airtel, its towers arm Bharti Infratel, and private equity firm Varde Partners, which had submitted bid to buy spectrum and tower assets, has sought to withdraw it.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
255 19-11-2019 - SC overrules SAT order stopping SEBI from barring auditors: The Supreme Court stayed an order of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) which had held that markets’ watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) does not have the power to bar auditors. A Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee also issued notice on the appeal filed by the SEBI against the SAT’s September 9 order. The SAT, in its order, which set aside the ban on audit firm Price Waterhouse (PwC), had noted that the SEBI does not have the power to bar auditors. Earlier, the SEBI had challenged SAT’s decision to quash a two-year ban that was imposed on PwC in connection with the Rs.7,800 crore Satyam fraud. On January 10, 2018, the watchdog slapped a two-year ban on Price Waterhouse (PwC), an arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers India, from auditing any listed company in connection with the PwC’s role in the scam.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, World Economy)
256 19-11-2019 - $1 trillion digital economy: Being the torchbearer of Indian IT, Karnataka’s contribution will be extremely crucial for the country to reach its ambitious mandate of becoming a $1-trillion digital economy by 2025, according to industry leaders. The State government said it had a commitment to grow its technology business to $150 billion in the next five years from the current $50 billion. However, large technology firms, start-ups, R&D outfits, accelerators, incubators and educators participating at the State’s annual IT show, Bengaluru Tech Summit, unanimously said the technology sector in the State required a revamp for it to get back to quick growth and contribute meaningfully to the country’s $1-trillion digital journey.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21
(Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
257 18-11-2019 - Ayodhaya 5 acre not acceptable: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) declined the five acres of land allotted to Muslims in Ayodhya and decided to file a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case. The two decisions were taken through a unanimous resolution. The SC had settled the case by granting full rights of disputed land to Hindus, and another separate 5 acre land to Muslims.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, History, Religion, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
258 18-11-2019 -
Rajapaksa is back: Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Opposition candidate in Sri Lanka’s presidential election, emerged winner, securing 52.25 % of the mandate and marking the return of the Rajapaksa family to power. Mr. Rajapaksa beat the government’s candidate Sajith Premadasa — who got nearly 42% of the vote share. Mr. Rajapaksa will be sworn in as Sri Lanka’s seventh executive president in the historic city of Anuradhapura, his Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP or People’s Party) said. India is concerned with his generally pro-China stance.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Politics)
259 18-11-2019 - Rape, marriage, FIR, justice: Is marriage a “good enough” reason to quash an FIR for rape if both the offender and the victim decide to settle the case? The Delhi High Court says no. In a significant verdict that will have implications on a large number of rape cases in India, the High Court has ruled that the offence of rape falls under the category of “heinous and serious crime” which cannot be quashed even if the parties have settled their dispute or got married. A large chunk of the rape cases in India are reported against those who were known to the victim.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues)
260 18-11-2019 - NCRB report 2017: The latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that of a total of 32,559 cases of rape reported across the country in 2017, in one-third or 10,553 cases the victim and offender were either friends, online friends, live-in partners or separated husbands. There was criticism for late release of the report, as for omission of many sections like those pertaining to mob-lynching and hate crimes.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
261 18-11-2019 - Spend on FB, win elections: Data on online political advertisements on Facebook show that there is a direct correlation between electoral success and online ad spend. Facebook recently released an Ad Library and Ad Library API to make political advertising “more transparent”, which allows users to see who exactly posted a political ad and how much was spent on the campaign. Data culled from the API by two researchers on their website ad.watch offers good insights into the ad spending strategies of political parties and the efficacy of the ads. So, is world politics compromised heavily?
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Indian Politics, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
262 18-11-2019 - Narmada rehabilitation: Families hit by the Sardar Sarovar dam project after the swelled up Narmada backwaters submerged 178 villages in August, took part in a public hearing in as the protests demanding rehabilitation entered the second day. The hearing was conducted by journalist L.S. Hardeniya, Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sabha president Jasvinder Singh, Gandhian Dayaram Namdev and former Chief Secretary S. C. Behar outside the Narmada Bhavan and was led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
263 18-11-2019 - Code of Conduct for MPs and MLAs: A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether Cabinet Ministers at both the Central and State levels should have a “voluntary model code of conduct” which addresses their private and public activities. The submissions about such a code were made before the five-judge Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, which is examining if “greater restrictions” should be imposed on the right of free speech and expression of high public functionaries to protect the citizen’s fundamental right to lead a dignified life. The question was framed after family members of the Bulandshahr rape case victim complained about former UP Minister Azam Khan’s public statements that the rape case was part of a political conspiracy against the then Akhilesh Yadav government.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
264 18-11-2019 - Uighur atrocities by Chinese revealed: A trove of leaked Chinese government documents reveals details of its clampdown on Uighurs and other Muslims in the country’s western Xinjiang region under President Xi Jinping, the New York Times reported. United Nations experts and activists say at least 1 million Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The documents show how Mr. Xi gave a series of internal speeches to officials during and after a 2014 visit to Xinjiang following a stabbing attack by Uighur militants at a train station that killed 31 people. This wholesale destruction of Uighur culture by the Chinese government is now beginning to draw worldwide condemnation, though not many Muslim nations are speaking up.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Religion, Social Issues, Terrorism, World Politics)
265 18-11-2019 - Iran erupts in protests over fuel price hike: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed petrol price increases that have sparked protests across Iran, blaming opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies for “sabotage”, State television reported. Riot police and security forces clashed with demonstrators in Tehran and dozens of cities across the country. Internet access in Iran was curbed after the protests at the order of a state security council, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported. Mr. Khamenei said the increase in gasoline prices was based on expert opinion and should be implemented. The price of petrol was raised to 15,000 rials ($0.13) a litre from 10,000 rials and rationed. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per litre.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Energy, Regional Economy, Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Politics)
266 18-11-2019 - Aramco IPO arriving, firm valued $1.7 trillion: Saudi Arabia put a value of up to $1.71 trillion on energy giant Aramco in what could be the world’s biggest IPO, but missed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s initial target of $2 trillion. Aramco said it would sell 1.5% of the firm in a blockbuster initial public offering worth at least $24 billion. The much-delayed offering is scaled down from original plans, but it still rivals the world's biggest listing so far — the $25 billion float of Chinese retail giant Alibaba in 2014. Aramco had initially been expected to sell a total of 5% on two exchanges. But the firm has said there are no current plans for an international stock sale, indicating that the long-discussed goal had been shelved for the time being.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Energy, History, Regional Economy, World Economy)
267 16-11-2019 - Essar Steel case resolved: The SC accepted ArcelorMittal’s offer to pay an aggregate Rs. 42,000 crore as an upfront amount to the secured financial creditors of bankrupt Essar Steel. This paves the way for ArcelorMittal to take over Essar and enter the world’s second biggest steel market. A three-judge Bench, led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, upheld the “commercial wisdom” of the Committee of Creditors (CoC) to accept Arcelor’s offer and set the ball rolling for the takeover. The court set aside a judgment of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which held that the amount ought to be shared equally between financial creditors and operational creditors.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy)
268 16-11-2019 - We too want to visit Kashmir like MEPs did: Senior Home Ministry officials were non-committal when a parliamentary panel asked if they could travel to Kashmir Valley like Members of the European Parliament did recently. The officials, including Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, briefed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, chaired by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma, on the situation in the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. A senior Rajya Sabha MP, who attended the meeting, told The Hindu that most parliamentarians questioned the officials on the prolonged detention of political leaders, including Lok Sabha MP and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, and sought to know when they would be released. Mr. Abdullah has been detained under the stringent Public Safety Act.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, United Nations)
269 16-11-2019 - Supreme Court pulls up ED on bail: The SC rejected an appeal filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the Delhi High Court decision to grant bail to Karnataka Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar in a money laundering case. A Bench of Justices Rohinton F. Nariman and S. Ravindra Bhat dismissed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s plea to issue notice on the agency’s appeal. The ED had moved the court arguing that Mr. Shivakumar was an influential person and could tamper with evidence while on bail. Justice Suresh Kumar Kait of the Delhi High Court, while granting bail, had noted that there was no evidence placed by the agency to establish that either Mr. Shivakumar or his family or associates had ever tried to contact any of the witnesses.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
270 16-11-2019 - Pollution meeting not attractive enough: Top officials of the Environment Ministry, Delhi Development Authority and three Municipal Commissioners stayed away from a key meeting of a parliamentary panel on urban development that was to discuss the severe pollution levels in the Capital. Chairman of the committee and MP Jagdambika Pal, cut the meeting short due to the absence of officials. Those who skipped included Union Environment Secretary C.K. Mishra, DDA Vice-Chairman Tarun Kapoor and the three Municipal Commissioners. Mr. Pal will be writing to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha to initiate contempt of parliamentary privileges against the missing officials. As many as 25 of the 29 members of the committee were absent. Other than Mr. Pal, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, BJP MP C.R. Patil and National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi were the only ones to attend.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
271 16-11-2019 - Another statistical survey junked: The government has decided not to release the household consumer expenditure survey results of 2017-18 due to data quality issues, it announced. Media reports said the unreleased survey had been suppressed because it showed that consumer demand had declined in 2017-18 for the first time in more than 40 years. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) said the report that was cited in the media was a draft and should not be considered final, a defence it has employed earlier when unpleasant data has been leaked. Experts criticised the government's move saying this is tantamount to breaking the standard principles followed for seven decades, and by hiding data, it will only worsen things. Earlier, the PLFS report had met with the same fate.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
272 16-11-2019 - Death of a samaritan: Social worker Abdul Jabbar, who organised survivors of the Gas Tragedy to raise demands for fair compensation, adequate treatment and complete rehabilitation, died at a private hospital in Bhopal. He was 61. Ajay Goenka, chairman, Chirayu Hospital, said that he was admitted to the hospital two days ago. In 1987, Mr. Jabbar set up the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan, which imparted vocational skills to women, mainly widows. On the night of the tragedy on December 2 and 3 in 1984, Mr. Jabbar — even as he couldn’t save his mother and brother — helped evacuate scores of others from neighbouring areas. The tragedy killed more than 25,000 people.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, History, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
273 16-11-2019 - Costlier Indian Railways: Those travelling on the Railways will now have to shell out at least Rs. 15 more for their morning tea and up to Rs. 105 more for lunch or dinner while on-board Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains, with the Railway Board deciding to hike catering charges to help improve food quality. The hike in charges will lead to an increase of 3-9% in the total fares for passengers. In Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains, catering charges are included in the fare (on opt-in basis). The revised catering tariff will come into effect from March 29, 2020. For travellers in second class AC, third class AC and chair car, morning tea will now be priced at Rs. 20 (up from Rs. 10), breakfast at Rs. 105 (from Rs. 70), lunch and dinner at Rs. 185 (from Rs. 120), and evening tea at Rs. 90 (from Rs. 45), as per the new order.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Social Issues)
274 16-11-2019 - Ranbaxy's Singh brothers ensnared: The SC held former Ranbaxy promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh guilty of contempt for violating its order that had asked them not to divest their shares in Fortis Healthcare Limited. The court had earlier asked the Singh brothers to give it a plan as to how they would honour the arbitral award of Rs. 3,500 crore granted by a Singapore tribunal against them in favour of Japanese drug manufacturer Daiichi Sankyo. A bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta, held them guilty of contempt of court and said that they had violated its earlier order by which the sale of their controlling stakes in Fortis Group to Malaysian firm IHH Healthcare was put on hold.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
275 16-11-2019 - Xi Jinping's warning defied: Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters defied a warning by China’s President Xi Jinping and again took to the city’s streets, as the political turmoil seeped out to London where a Minister from the Southern Chinese city was confronted by masked demonstrators. Hong Kong has seen relentless protests since June as many in the city of 7.5 million people have vented fury at eroding freedoms under Chinese rule. Violence has escalated, and tensions have spilt out overseas, sparking friction between China and Britain, which governed Hong Kong until 1997. Hong Kong Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng fell in London after being surrounded by pro-democracy protesters, in the most physical confrontation involving a member of cabinet since the unrest began.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21) (Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Economy, World Politics)
276 16-11-2019 -
Trump attacks foreign service officer: As the second day of public hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives impeachment inquiry unfolded, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter, attacking former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, as she sat in the witness chair. As a hearing that brought to light threats and disparagement Ms Yovanovitch had faced, was underway, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavourably about her in my second phone call with him...”
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, World Politics)
277 16-11-2019 - Israel's IDF invetigating kids' deaths: Israel’s military said it was investigating “harm caused to civilians” from an air strike it carried out in that Palestinian medics said killed eight members of one family, including five children. It was the single deadliest incident in two days of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip this week during which 34 Palestinians were killed, almost half of them civilians. Islamic Jihad and Israel declared a halt to fighting across Gaza but a lasting ceasefire appeared tenuous as they differed on terms. Israel triggered the exchange of fire by killing the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad's top Gaza commander in an air strike, deeming him an imminent threat. Militants responded with a barrage of hundreds of rockets into Israel, forcing entire communities to take shelter. Dozens of Israelis were injured but there were no reports of fatalities.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Defence and Military, Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Politics)
278 16-11-2019 - Prisoner exchange: Two Lithuanians and a Norwegian convicted of espionage in Russia were freed in exchange for two Russians who had been in prison in Lithuania. Yevgeny Mataitis and Aristidas Tamosaitis, who were convicted in 2016, have been reunited with their families, Lithuanian spy chief Darius Jauniskis said. Frode Berg, a Norwegian sentenced in Russia to 14 years in prison for espionage, was handed over to Norway’s embassy in Vilnius after he crossed into Lithuania. Earlier in the day, Russians Nikolai Filipchenko and Sergey Moiseyenko were pardoned by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda. The Baltic News Service said the spy swap took place at noon at a border checkpoint with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)

(History, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
279 16-11-2019 - Supreme Court on Essar Steel resolution: The SC’s ruling on the Essar Steel insolvency case will have far-fetched implications on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) process and will quicken resolution. Now that the Committee of Creditors (CoC) has the final say, it will lead to more certainty when a plan is accepted and there will be less challenge to the orders of NCLTs. Also, financial creditor will have precedence over operational creditors in the payments waterfall, thereby bringing clarity to a major aspect of resolution. In addition, the NCLAT will not be superior to the CoC in commercial matters.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
280 14-11-2019 - Supreme Court CJI office under RTI: The office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is a ‘public authority’ under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi declared. The main judgment of the Constitution Bench authored by Justice Sanjiv Khanna said the Supreme Court is a “public authority” and the office of the CJI is part and parcel of the institution. Hence, if the Supreme Court is a public authority, so is the office of the CJI. Justice Khanna, who shared his judgment with CJI Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta, observed that transparency and accountability should go hand-in-hand. Increased transparency under RTI was no threat to judicial independence, he held.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21)

(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities)
281 14-11-2019 - SC disqualifies MLAs, but allows elections: The Supreme Court upheld the disqualification of 17 dissident Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) legislators by then Karnataka Assembly Speaker K. R. Ramesh Kumar under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) but held that their ouster was no bar to contesting repolls. The Supreme Court upheld the disqualification of 17 dissident Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) legislators by then Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) but held that their ouster was no bar to contesting repolls. The court said Section 36 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, does not contemplate such disqualification. On the provisions introduced in the 91st Constitutional Amendment, the judgment said they were brought in specifically to ensure that a legislator disqualified for defection was not appointed as a government Minister or to any remunerative post from the date of his disqualification either till the expiry of his term of office or till he was re-elected to the legislature, “whichever is earlier”.
(Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21) (Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
282 14-11-2019 - Supreme Court strikes down Tribunal rules: A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court struck down in entirety rules framed by the government under the Finance Act of 2017 to alter the appointments to 19 key judicial tribunals, including the Central Administrative Tribunal. The Bench, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, held that the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017 suffered from “various infirmities”. A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court struck down in entirety rules framed by the government under the Finance Act of 2017 to alter the appointments to 19 key judicial tribunals, including the Central Administrative Tribunal. The Bench, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, held that the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017 suffered from “various infirmities”.  (Enrol in free civil services prep course - TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21) (Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
283 14-11-2019 - JNU administration's fees rollback: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Executive Council’s decision to “partially rollback” the hostel fee hike failed to pacify students who have been protesting against it since October 28. The JNU Students’ Union called the “rollback” a gimmick and demanded a complete scrapping of the planned increase. It said the university had not communicated anything to it and the media was the only source of information. Appealing to students to call off their protest, JNU Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar tweeted: “The Executive Council of JNU gives major concessions based on student feedback. JNU administration appeals to the protesting students to resume academic activities.” The Registrar said the hostel fee had been approved by the Executive Council with measures to provide for students from weaker sections.  (Enrol in TAP 2020-21 - http://bit.ly/tap21) (Education, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
284 14-11-2019 - Finally, inflation goes up: Retail inflation climbed to a 16-month high of 4.62% in October, driven by food inflation, which hit its highest level since August 2016, official data showed. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) grew sharply in October from 3.99% in September, which itself was the highest reading in 14 months. The inflation level in October breached the 4% benchmark, set by the RBI and the Finance Ministry till 2021. It, however, still remains within the upper limit of 6%. Within the CPI, inflation in the food and beverages category continued its sharp acceleration, at 6.93%. This figure is the highest since August 2016. Food inflation was at 4.7% in September, the highest in nearly two years.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
285 14-11-2019 - Nehru's works: The final volume of the Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru — a 100-volume project — will be released on the occasion of Nehru’s birth anniversary, bringing to completion an exercise which has spanned almost half a century. The volumes, which have an average length of 700 pages each, have been brought out by the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, a private trust chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The first volume appeared in 1972, under the editorship of eminent historian Sarvepalli Gopal assisted by a team of researchers. The latest editor is historian Madhavan Palat, who took over the project in 2011, beginning at Volume no. 44.
(Art Culture Literature, History, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
286 14-11-2019 - Mangrove forests versus Cyclones: On November 9, 2019, when the very severe cyclone Bulbul made landfall at Sagar island in the Indian Sunderbans, a group of tourists found themselves stranded near the Kalash island in the violently inclement weather. They got out of their boat and took shelter in mangrove creeks, and escaped unhurt. The cyclone was so powerful that it overturned a large fishing trawler near Sagar; people in that vessel are still missing. From environmental experts to the State’s Chief Minister, everyone has said that the mangroves had saved the Sunderbans from the gusty winds blowing at between 110 kmph to 135 kmph. “It would have been a disaster if the mangroves had not been there,” said Kalyan Rudra, chairperson of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board and a river expert. In fact, CM Mamata Banerjee, while touring the affected regions, noted that the State will plant more mangroves.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
287 14-11-2019 - Cold climate clothing for ITBP: More than 15,000 personnel of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force deployed along the China border are set to benefit from a policy decision on altitude specifications that makes them eligible to get special cold climate clothing. Earlier, only those ITBP men deployed at an altitude of upto 12,000 feet from the sea level were entitled for special protective clothing. However, last year, the guidelines were revised and personnel deployed at 9,000 feet also became eligible to get the special clothing. The ITBP is deployed along the Line of Actual Control with China, spanning 3,488 km of difficult terrain up to at an altitude of 18,900 feet. There are five pockets which are not defined and their territories are claimed by both the countries. Three are in Ladakh and one each in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. The ITBP force comprises 60,000 personnel now. Of this, around 12,000 personnel deployed in Ladakh were entitled to snow clothing.
(Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
288 14-11-2019 - Death in a sewer: The Chennai police arrested the contractor who had engaged labourers, including 26-year-old Arul who asphyxiated while cleaning the sewage channel in the basement of the Express Avenue Mall in the city’s Royapettah region. Meanwhile, the Chennai Corporation issued an order to the mall management, directing them to pay a compensation of Rs.10 lakh to the victim’s family, as per a recent order of the Supreme Court. Arul, of Namachivayapuram near Ice House, died when he entered a channel to rescue his brother Ranjith, who was complaining of uneasiness while cleaning sewage at the mall’s basement.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Infrastructure, Social Issues)
289 14-11-2019 - Sri Lankan Presidential elections 2019: The campaign for Sri Lanka’s November 16 presidential election ended, but voters are concerned about an apparent spike in fake news on social media and its possible impact over the next two days. As candidates made their final pitch, some of their supporters unleashed racist posts and fake news-based attacks online — mostly on Facebook, Whastapp and Twitter. Users and media watchers are intervening in different ways — from asking Facebook how it allowed politicians to promote content found to be false, to instantly calling out racist slurs and hate-mongering by users who are openly backing prominent contestants. Mainstream media too came into sharp focus days ahead of Sri Lanka’s biggest election, for bias or disinformation.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
290 14-11-2019 - Trump entangled in Ukraine mess: Fresh damning information about U.S. President Donald Trump’s preoccupation with getting the Ukrainian administration to investigate his political rivals by using the U.S. relationship with Ukraine as a leverage emerged as the first public hearings in the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry got underway. Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., said that the U.S. envoy to the E.U, Gordan Sondland, had indicated that Mr. Trump cared more about the investigations into his political rivals than he did about Ukraine. Mr. Taylor, who had provided private testimony to House investigators on October 22, testified regarding new information that he had learned from an aide, who had been present during a call between Mr. Sondland and Mr. Trump. The President was speaking loudly enough for the aide to hear him asking Mr. Sondland about the “investigations”. Following the call, the aide asked Mr. Sondland what the U.S. President thought of Ukraine, to which Mr. Sondland had said Mr. Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
291 14-11-2019 - Hong Kong protests: Pro-democracy protesters stepped up a “blossom everywhere” campaign of road blocks and vandalism across that has crippled the international financial hub this week and ignited some of the worst violence in five months of unrest. The new phase in the crisis, which has forced schools and shopping malls to close as well as the shutdown of large chunks of the vital train network, has prompted police to warn the city is on the verge of “total collapse” and a “breakdown”. As they have since the start of the week, protesters choked roads and blocked traffic with anything they could lay their hands on including bricks, bicycles, couches and other materials. Various lines on the subway were also suspended, forcing many workers to stay at home.
(Regional Economy, Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Politics)
292 14-11-2019 - Rupee weakens: The rupee weakened 62 paisa, or 0.9%, against the dollar amid weak macro economic data, with traders unwinding their speculative positions. The rupee opened at 71.75 against the U.S. dollar and went on to weaken further to touch the day’s low of 72.10 before closing at 72.09 a dollar, down 62 paise over its previous close. This is the lowest closing level for the rupee since September 4. “Today, it was purely speculative unwinding which happened. Rupee is the most preferred currency for carry trade in Asia. The speculators were holding sizeable long position in the rupee, offshore as well as onshore market,” said Anindya Banerjee, currency strategist, Kotak Securities.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
293 14-11-2019 - DoT's AGR claim will crush Telcos: The Department of Telecommunications issued a directive to telecom service providers to pay their statutory dues within three months as directed by the apex court. The Supreme Court, in its judgment dated October 24, 2019, ruled in favour of the DoT, as a result of which telcos now owe the government over ?1.33 lakh crore. The Supreme Court had said, “We give three months’ time to deposit the amount, which is due and compliance be reported.” The Department of Telecommunications issued a directive to telecom service providers to pay their statutory dues within three months as directed by the apex court. The Supreme Court, in its judgment dated October 24, 2019, ruled in favour of the DoT, as a result of which telcos now owe the government over ?1.33 lakh crore. The Supreme Court had said, “We give three months’ time to deposit the amount, which is due and compliance be reported.”
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure)
294 14-11-2019 - 15. Gold update: People have confidence in the investment potential of gold but there are certain elements of mistrust as well that are acting as a barrier even as the yellow metal is the third-most popular investment choice among retail investors, according to the latest consumer survey by the World Gold Council. Gold is the third-most consistently bought investment — 46% of global retail investors have chosen gold products, behind savings accounts (78%) and life insurance (54%) - According to the Retail Gold Insights 2019 report by the World Gold Council.

(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
295 20-09-2019 - We will build a "new Kashmir" : PM  N. Modi said it was time to build a new Kashmir after the scrapping of Article 370, and the country should unite as one towards this. The scrapping of Article 370 would help to remove J and K and Ladakh from the vicious cycle of militancy, violence and corruption. Attempts were being made from across the border to spread violence in Kashmir and the Opposition was trying to gain political mileage from an issue which was for the larger good of the country, he observed. Mr. Modi praised the Maharashtra government, led by Mr. Fadnavis. He said crores of people had blessed the CM during the course of his 4,000-km State-wide tour, and he had given a stable government despite the BJP not having full majority.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Religion, Social Issues, Terrorism)
296 20-09-2019 - Internet is a right : The Kerala HC held that the right to have access to the Internet is part of the fundamental right to education as well as the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution. Justice P.V. Asha made the observation while ordering the principal of Sree Narayanaguru College, Kozhikode, to re-admit a student who had been expelled from the college hostel for using her mobile phone beyond the restricted hours. The verdict came on a petition filed by Faheema Shirin, a third-semester B.A. English student of the college at Chelanur, challenging her expulsion for not adhering to restrictions on the use of mobile phone. As per the rules of the girls’ hostel, inmates were restrained from using mobile phones from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
297 20-09-2019 - Sign a bond, get released, but no politics : At least five political leaders in the Kashmir Valley have signed bonds to secure their release. The detentions were made under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC) and the politicians who signed the bonds gave an undertaking that they would not indulge in any political activity after their release. Those who signed the bonds include moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, two former legislators of the National Conference, one former legislator of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a Peoples Conference leader. The J and K Assembly was dissolved by Governor Satyapal Malik on November 21 last year.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics)
298 20-09-2019 - Loan Melas are back with a bang : In a bid to dispel the notion that only the banks have liquidity and it is not flowing to the NBFCs and the customers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that all scheduled banks would hold large gatherings in 400 districts, where customers can take any type of loan they want from the banks and the NBFCs partnering with them. The Finance Ministry, in a release, said banks had entered into 14 tie-ups with NBFCs for co-originating loans, with another 36 tie-ups in the pipeline. She said no MSME-stressed loan would be classified as non-performing asset until March 31, 2020.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Social Issues)
299 20-09-2019 - Sangam Age was much more ancient : In a major turning point in the cultural historiography of the ancient Sangam Age, the TN Archaeology Department (TNAD) has stated that the cultural deposits unearthed during excavations at Keeladi in Sivaganga district could be safely dated to a period between 6th century BCE and 1st century CE. This is the first time the date has been officially announced by the TNAD. The new findings in the report, released by Minister for Tamil Culture and Archaeology K. Pandiarajan in Chennai, placed the Keeladi artefacts about 300 years earlier than previously believed — 3rd century BCE.
(Art Culture Literature, History, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
300 20-09-2019 - Poshan Abhiyaan update : India is unlikely to meet targets set under the ambitious Poshan Abhiyan or National Nutrition Mission (NNM) for reduction in prevalence of stunting, underweight, low birth weight and anaemia in women and children by 2022 if there is no progress achieved in improving the rate of decline observed between 1990 and 2017, according to a new study published in The Lancet. The study points out that India will miss its target for stunting levels of 25% by 9.6%; underweight target of 22.7% by 4.8%; desired low birth level of 11.4% by 8.9%; anaemia level among women of 39.4% by 13.8%; and anaemia level among children of 44.7% by 11.7%, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2017. The report is a joint initiative of Indian Council of Medical Research, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
301 20-09-2019 - "Black magic" took a life : Family members of a missing autorickshaw driver lodged a complaint with the Shameerpet police in Hyderabad alleging that he was burnt alive in the funeral pyre of a middle-aged woman, who, according to villagers, died due to ‘black magic’ performed by him at Adraspally near Shameerpet. The police said Boini Anjaneyulu, 25, of Adraspally, 40 km from Hyderabad went missing. Quoting family members, they said he had been thrashed and burnt alive by relatives of Gyara Laxmi, 45. Balanagar Police said Laxmi, a home-maker from the village ailing for the last five years, died and her last rites were performed.
(Governance and Institutions, Social Issues)
302 20-09-2019 - Marriage case lands at the SC : The SC summoned the UP Home Secretary to appear in person on September 23 in a plea filed by a 16-year-old girl, lodged in a shelter home on the orders of the Allahabad HC, to return to her 24-year-old "husband" whom she married in accordance with the Mohammedan law. A Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana ordered the appearance of the State Home Secretary after the UP government failed to respond on the notice issued by the court. The State sought 15 days more to file the reply. To this, the Bench said the State was taking the court too lightly even though the girl, represented by advocate Dushyant Parashar, continues to be lodged in a Nari Niketan.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
303 20-09-2019 - Saudis will defend themselves : U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that America backs Saudi Arabia’s “right to defend itself” after a weekend attack targeted the heart of its oil industry, comments coming after he described the assault as an “act of war”. The attacks have reignited fears over a wider conflagration in the region, as tensions remain high over Iran’s collapsing nuclear deal with world powers. Mr. Pompeo’s comments on Twitter came as he was in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, after meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom’s Defense Minister. The Saudis displayed missile and drone wreckage at a press conference, and cited other evidence to shows Iran's hand in attacks.
(Defence and Military, History, People and Personalities, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
304 20-09-2019 - US drone kills 30 Afghan farmers : A U.S. drone strike intended to hit an Islamic State (IS) hideout in Afghanistan killed at least 30 civilians resting after a day’s labour in the fields, officials said. The attack night also injured another 40 people after accidentally targeting farmers and labourers who had just finished collecting pine nuts at Wazir Tangi in eastern Nangarhar province. About 14,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counter-insurgency operations against insurgents. Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangarhar, said at least nine bodies had been collected from the site. Haidar Khan, who owns the pine nut fields, said about 150 workers were there for harvesting.
(Defence and Military, Regional Politics, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
305 20-09-2019 - Shock for Netanyahu : Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu suffered a major political setback when results of parliamentary election were out. Mr. Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving PM  who was in power for 10 consecutive years and was hoping to win a fifth term in office, failed to win a majority in the 120-member Knesset. When almost all of the votes were counted, Mr. Netanyahu’s right-religious coalition won 55 seats, six short of majority. His Likud party’s performance was worse than the last election. The Likud won 31 seats, down from 35 in April. The Likud’s main rival, the Blue and White, led by former army chief Benny Gantz, emerged as the single largest party with 33 seats. Mr. Gantz’s centrist coalition has 44 seats.
(People and Personalities, World Politics)
306 20-09-2019 - Benny Gantz the challenger : Benny Gantz, Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu’s main opponent in the country’s general election, said he should be PM  in a unity government. Mr. Gantz spoke to journalists after Mr. Netanyahu called for them to join together in a unity government as results from vote showed neither with an obvious path to form a majority coalition. Mr. Gantz’s centrist Blue and White is nevertheless two seats ahead of Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, according to results published by Israeli media with 97% of the vote counted. The ex-military chief said his alliance had the most seats and he should lead the next government.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
307 20-09-2019 - SL politics update : Backers of PM  Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed abolishing the country’s highly-controversial executive presidency, but with few takers in the Cabinet it was thwarted, according to those present at the discussion. The move comes a day after Sri Lanka’s EC announced that presidential poll will be held on November 16. President Maithripala Sirisena convened an “emergency Cabinet meeting” at the Presidential Secretariat, where Minister Rajitha Senaratne and Ravi Karunanayake, both known to be supporting Mr. Wickremesinghe’s candidacy, made a case for abolishing executive presidency. However, other Cabinet ministers, including Mangala Samaraweera, Kabir Hashim and Mano Ganesan, have opposed the idea, arguing that it was not the right time for such a move.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics)
308 20-09-2019 - GST rate cuts : The GST Council is likely to discuss the viability of a tax rate cut for the automobile sector, easing the annual return filing procedure for small businesses and possibly rationalise the two different rates on lotteries at its 37th meeting to be held in Goa, according to tax analysts. The other major decision that is likely to be taken is exempting small business from filing the GSTR-9 annual return forms. These forms have come under much criticism for being too complex and asking for data that businesses, especially smaller ones, cannot furnish. The other aspects that could come up for discussion may be distribution of taxes between the Centre and the States.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure)
309 20-09-2019 - DoT projects : The Digital Communication Commission, the highest decision making body in the Department of Telecom, approved multiple projects worth over Rs. 8,500 crore for setting up mobile towers and laying of optical fibre, with an aim to provide improved connectivity. The commission also approved a special scheme to cover close to 12,000 uncovered villages in aspirational districts. The approved infra projects include laying of BharatNet fibre in TN and Telangana, at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,815 crore and Rs. 2,065 crore, respectively. Additionally, approval was given for setting up 1,917 mobile towers for uncovered villages in the North East.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure)
310 19-09-2019 - Ayodhya matter update : The SC allowed the Ayodhya mediation committee to resume talks with the disputing Hindu and Muslim parties even as it indicated that the ongoing hearings of the appeals before a Constitution Bench is likely to finish by October 18. CJI Ranjan Gogoi is scheduled to retire on November 17. If the hearings are completed the court will have a month to write the judgment for the over 70-year-old Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute. The parties asked the mediators — former SC judge F.M.I Kalifulla, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu — that talks should resume from the point where they were abruptly dropped at the last minute on July 29.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Religion)
311 19-09-2019 - e-Cigs are illegal : The Union Cabinet approved a ban on e-cigarettes, citing the need to take early action to protect public health. Upon promulgation of the ordinance, any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes shall be a cognisable offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh, or both for the first offence; and imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to Rs. 5 lakh for a subsequent offence. Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine of up to Rs. 50,000 or both.
(Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
312 19-09-2019 - Lynching case update : Making a U-turn in the Tabrez Ansari lynching case after allegations of attempts to weaken the case, the Jharkhand police submitted a supplementary chargesheet, seeking punishment under Section 302 of the IPC (murder) against 11 of the accused. Another two accused, who were apprehended later, would also face murder charges. The Seraikela-Kharsawan police had earlier dropped the murder charges against the accused, contending that Ansari had died of cardiac arrest due to stress, and not injury. The charges were changed on the basis of a fresh forensic report. For further investigation, police had sought an opinion from a board of doctors of the MGM Medical College and Hospital.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
313 19-09-2019 - Fines for animals : Breaking the rules of the road attracts little or no fine in AP, unless the "traffic law" violator is a pig or a cow in a village in the Frontier State’s East Siang district. Three years before the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, prescribed heavy penalties for traffic violators across India, the elders of Ledum village imposed fines on livestock loitering on the road leading to district headquarters Pasighat. The quantum of fine read: a bullet for a pig, Rs. 500 for a cow and the possibility of it being auctioned off. Ledum has 112 Adi households while three families belong to the Galo community. By early 2017, the village youth shot 10 pigs. The pig-rearers have never since let the animals out.
(Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
314 19-09-2019 - Most immigrants from India : India has emerged as the leading country of origin for immigrants across the world, with 17.5 million international migrants in 2019 coming from India, up from 15.9 million in 2015. The International Migrant Stock 2019, released by the UN DESA's Population Division, said the number of international migrants in the world had reached an estimated 272 million 2019 — 51 million more than in 2010. The percentage of international migrants of the total global population has increased to 3.5% from 2.8% in 2000. While India remained as the top source of international migrants, the number of migrants living in India saw a slight decline from 5.24 million in 2015 to an estimated 5.15 million in 2019 – both 0.4% of the total population of the country.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Social Issues, World Economy, World Politics)
315 19-09-2019 - Trouble over bill on lynching : Governor Jagdeep Dhankar sent a letter to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly seeking a clarification on The West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019. A communication from the Raj Bhawan said the Governor wanted to know the response of the Assembly Secretary on the contention made by Leader of the Opposition Abdul Mannan and Leader of the Left Front Legislature Party Sujan Chakraborty. Both the leaders submitted a written representation on grave irregularities and legislative improprieties in respect of The West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
316 19-09-2019 - Bike ambulances in Odisha : Despite a large number of inaccessible villages, institutional delivery has shown praiseworthy rise in Odisha’s Kandhamal district due to use of bike ambulances, delivery vans and ‘Janani’ autorickshaws. Pregnancies during the period from April to July this year, Kandhamal district has topped among 30 districts in Odisha. During these four months, as against the target of 4,887 institutional deliveries, 5,055 institutional deliveries were registered, raising the percentage in the district to 103%. This is higher than the State’s average rate of 76% for institutional delivery during the same period.
(Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
317 19-09-2019 - Quota trouble at IIMA : The IIM-A has not made any provision to implement reservations for historically marginalised social groups in its 2020 Ph.D Programme in Management. When the institute opened its admissions portal for next year’s doctoral programme, it had no provisions for an SC/ST (Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe) quota. Some IIM staff and alumni have called out the institution on its continued refusal to comply with the law that requires all Central educational institutions to reserve seats for each course and branch of study. The pair have published a research report showing that there are hardly any IIM faculty from the SC and ST communities.
(Constitution and Law, Education, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
318 19-09-2019 - Poor show for Benjamin : Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu failed to win a ruling majority in an election that produced a virtual tie between his right-wing bloc and a centre-left grouping that would be led by former military chief Benny Gantz. The outcome dealt a new blow to Israel’s longest-serving leader who was already weakened by the inability to put together an administration after an inconclusive election in April. But with coalition-building again key to forming a government, it could be days or even weeks before it becomes clear whether the wily politician hailed by supporters as "King Bibi" has been dethroned after a decade in power.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
319 19-09-2019 - Sri Lanka elections : SL will hold presidential elections on November 16, the Election Commission announced. Nominations would be called on October 7. The coming election has been drawing much interest locally and internationally, with Leader of Opposition and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa naming his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a controversial former Defence Secretary accused of war-crimes, as the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna candidate. A 2015 legislation puts a two-term cap on presidency, preventing Mahinda Rajapaksa from contesting for the highest office, but the popular leader has spoken about possibly returning to power through Parliament, as Prime Minister. Sri Lanka’s general elections are due next year.
(People and Personalities, Regional Economy, Regional Politics, World Politics)
320 19-09-2019 - More sanctions on Iran by US : President Donald Trump said he ordered a major increase in sanctions on Iran in the latest U.S. move to pressure Tehran, which U.S. officials say probably carried out the attack on Saudi oil facilities. Mr. Trump gave no explanation in a brief Twitter posting announcing the order, but the initiative follows repeated U.S. assertions that the Islamic Republic was behind attack on the kingdom, a close U.S. ally. Iran, however, again denied involvement in the September 14 raids. “They want to impose maximum ... pressure on Iran through slander,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said. “We don’t want conflict in the region ... Who started the conflict?” he added, blaming Washington and its Gulf allies for the war in Yemen.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Economy, World Politics)
321 19-09-2019 - Teaser loans under a lens : SBI's plan to offer fixed-cum-floating home loan rates — known as teaser loans — is likely to hit a regulatory hurdle as the RBI is uncomfortable with such products. Teaser loans are those which charge comparatively lower rates of interest in the first few years after which the rates are increased. During a recent media interaction, SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar said the bank will engage with the RBI for the product which will bear fixed interest for about 10 years and then, turn floating. There is no fixed rate home loan product in the market though there is demand for such a product, and a fixed-cum-floating rate product could have addressed that demand. The RBI is of the view that some borrowers may find it difficult to service the loans once the normal interest rate, which is higher than the rate applicable in the initial years, becomes effective.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
322 19-09-2019 - NBFC loan pricing under a lens : After mandating banks to implement external benchmarking for retail loan pricing, the Reserve Bank is now looking at the loan pricing regime of non-banking finance companies to make the practice more transparent. The central bank is internally discussing the loan pricing mechanism of the non-banking sector. At present, there is no anchor rate for NBFCs, similar to banks, that is linked to the lending rate of a particular loan. For example, banks have the marginal cost of fund based lending rate (MCLR) — the anchor rate — and all the loans are linked to such a rate. Earlier, the base rate acted as an anchor rate. Banks were not allowed to lend below the base rate or the MCLR rate. Banks are allowed to add a spread, based on the risk assessment, to the anchor rate. However, there is no such mandate for NBFCs to have an anchor rate to which all the loan rates are linked.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, World Economy)
323 19-09-2019 - India and Iran : Amid tensions in West Asia, India has managed to raise tea exports to Iran, doubling its shipment volume to 17.7 million kg between April and July 2019, from a year earlier. This has happened when overall tea exports have remained flat at 73.2 million kg between April and July 2019 against 73.4 million kg between April and July 2018, with exports changing marginally to most destinations. Unit prices of Indian teas, too, rose to Rs. 282.9 against Rs. 197.6 and $4.1 against $3.5 for the period under review. Tea exports were valued at Rs. 1,676.7 crore against Rs. 1,491.2 crore with improved prices. Tea Board of India deputy chairman Arun Kumar Ray said export prices rose on the back of improved tea quality, which came after last year’s curtailment of production during the winter months.
(Indian Politics, Regional Economy, Regional Politics, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy, World Politics)
324 19-09-2019 - Amazon Alexa and Hindi : Amazon announced support for Hindi and Hinglish for its voice assistant Alexa. With this update, users in India will be able to interact with Alexa using Hindi (and Hinglish) as opposed to only English at present. Till now, Alexa, which was launched in India in 2017, was able to understand and pronounce names of popular places, names and songs in regional languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Punjabi, but supported commands only in English. Stating that India had uniquely challenged the firm’s AI teams with its cultural and linguistic diversity, Mr. Prasad added that many Indian users contributed to Hindi development through the Cleo skill on Alexa. He also indicated that more regional languages could be added to Alexa in the future.
(Indian Economy, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
325 14-09-2019 - Positive move for Sikhs abroad : At least 312 Indian-origin Sikhs living in foreign countries have been removed from a Ministry of Home Affairs “adverse list”, enabling them to apply for an Indian visa and visit the country. Only two persons still remain on the list. In future, Sikhs mentioned in the list could eventually apply for registration as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) after they have applied for and held normal visa for a period of two years. The Congress-led government in Punjab and the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) both claimed credit for the Centre’s move.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Religion, Social Issues, World Politics)
326 14-09-2019 - Delhi odd even coming back : The odd-even vehicle rationing scheme will return to the Capital for the third time in November, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. The scheme, Mr. Kejriwal announced at a press conference, will be enforced from November 4 to 15 as part of a seven-point action plan mainly aimed at combating the detrimental effect that stubble and residual crop burning in neighbouring States such as Punjab and Haryana has on the Capital's ambient air quality in winter months. The scheme entails allowing private vehicles whose registration number ends in even digits to ply on even dates and those with odd last digits to ply only on odd dates, with violators drawing a Rs.2,000 fine. Women drivers and two-wheeler riders were exempted from the scheme on both the previous occasions.
(Constitution and Law, Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Governance and Institutions, Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
327 14-09-2019 - Saradha scam heat : The Calcutta High Court vacated the interim order providing protection from arrest to IPS officer and former Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar by the CBI in the Saradha scam. Within hours of the order, a team of CBI officers arrived at Mr. Kumar’s residence at 34 Park Street and issued summons asking him to appear before the investigating agency. Mr. Kumar, who is serving as Additional Director General, CID, is on leave. The court observed that counsel for the petitioner had failed to substantiate that the investigating agency [CBI in this case] was harassing him or trying to injure his reputation. Justice Mitra said the allegation that Mr. Kumar had been singled out cannot be admitted before the court, since officers superior in rank to him had been interrogated by the CBI.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
328 14-09-2019 - SP in UP : The Samajwadi Party has moved an application seeking the disqualification of Shivpal Singh Yadav from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly under the anti-defection law. Mr. Shivpal, the estranged uncle of SP president Akhilesh Yadav, was elected from the Jaswantnagar Assembly constituency in the 2017 State elections. He then floated a new party, Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), and had contested the recent Lok Sabha elections on its symbol. The application from the leader of the SP in the Assembly, Ram Govind Chaudhary, has been received and a letter seeking Mr. Shivpal’s reply has been issued. Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit will take a decision on the matter after receiving Mr. Shivpal’s reply.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
329 14-09-2019 - RTI without RTI : In a pioneering step, the first-ever public information portal was launched in Rajasthan  promising to provide information about government authorities and departments suo motu to the public in the true spirit of the Right To Information Act. The portal has brought yet another distinction to Rajasthan, where the RTI movement had started in 1990s. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated the portal at B.M. Birla Auditorium Jaipur in the presence of former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, former Law Commission chairman Justice A.P. Shah and a galaxy of RTI activists, including Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy. The State government collaborated with the civil society groups to develop the portal, the first of its kind in the country, initially giving information pertaining to 13 departments on a single platform.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
330 14-09-2019 - Uniform Civil Code : The Supreme Court said the nation has still not endeavoured to secure for its citizens a Uniform Civil Code. The government has till date taken no action, a Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose observed in a judgment delivered. Justice Gupta, who wrote the 31-page judgment, said the founders of the Constitution had expressed their hope that one day the State would fulfil expectations of a Uniform Civil Code. The founders had penned their hope that a uniform set of rules would replace the distinct personal laws of marriage, divorce, etc. based on customs of each religion.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues)
331 14-09-2019 - Massacre at Sonbhadra, and land documents : Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath handed out land documents to 281 persons in Sonbhadra district, two months after 11 tribals of a local village were killed over a long-standing land dispute. Mr. Adityanath allotted the lease of 852 bighas of land to the beneficiaries at a function in Umbha village, where a village head and his associates opened fired at the villagers on July 17. Taking a dig at Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who had raised the issue of the killings and sought to blame the State government, Mr. Adityanath said he wanted to “ask the Congress ki shehzadi (princess)” if she would apologise to the poor in Sonbhadra for the “injustice” suffered by its tribals under various Congress governments since 1952.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
332 14-09-2019 - US Presidential race 2020 : The leading Democratic presidential candidates split sharply over the issue of healthcare in a debate night, exposing the gulf between former Vice President Joe Biden’s careful moderate politics and the transformational liberal ambitions of Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Mr. Biden, facing all of his closest competitors for the first time in a debate, quickly took the initiative to challenge Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders for supporting a “Medicare for All”-style healthcare system that would displace the existing forms of private insurance. Cloaking himself in the accomplishments of the Obama administration, Mr. Biden branded Ms. Warren as seeking to upend the progress of the Affordable Care Act.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, World Politics)
333 14-09-2019 - US strategy on Afghanistan unclear : Frustrated by the absence of a clearly communicated strategy on Afghanistan and a lack of responsiveness to invitations issued by it, the U.S House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee has subpoenaed the U.S. envoy to the U.S.-Taliban negotiations, Zalmay Khalilzad, to testify before it. The Committee, which is currently controlled by Democrats, has responsibilities for legislation and oversight related to U.S. Foreign policy and the State Department, and this is the first subpoena for the Committee in the current Congress.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
334 14-09-2019 - New style in HK protests : Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters took to the hills to form flashlight-carrying human chains, using the colourful Mid-Autumn Festival as a backdrop to the latest in more than three months of sometimes violent unrest. The peaceful protests, on a day when families traditionally gather to gaze at the moon and eat mooncakes, came after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam promised to focus on housing and jobs to try to end the turmoil. Hong Kong has some of the world’s most expensive real estate and many people say the city’s housing policy is unfair, benefiting the rich while forcing the less well-off to live with their parents or rent “shoe box” apartments at exorbitant prices.
(History, Social Issues, World Economy, World Politics)
335 14-09-2019 - Contracting Exports : India’s exports contracted 6.05% in August to $26.13 billion, official data released showed. The trade deficit widened marginally to $13.45 billion. Exports in August 2019 were $26.13 billion, as compared to $27.81 billion in August 2018, exhibiting a negative growth of 6.05%. In rupee terms, exports were Rs.1,85,881.11 crore in August 2019, as compared to Rs.1,93,397.12 crore in August 2018, registering a negative growth of 3.89%.”
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, World Economy)
336 14-09-2019 - Indian exports situation August 2019 : The sectors that saw notable contraction in their exports include rice (-23.95%), other cereals (-41.8%), oil meals (-44.4%), and oil seeds (-31.8%). Iron ore exports, notably, grew by a whopping 356.7%. Imports in August 2019 were $39.58 billion (Rs.2,81,606.41 crore), which was 13.45% lower in dollar terms and 11.46% lower in rupee terms over imports of $45.73 billion (Rs.3,18,043.86 crore) in August 2018.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, World Economy)
337 14-09-2019 - Good pharma exports growth : Pharma exports bucked the recessionary trend, to clock 11% growth in the first quarter this fiscal and followed it up with a robust, over 21% growth in July. Coming at a time when “most commodities are not moving in a positive direction, pharma exports are a silver lining,” Ravi Uday Bhaskar, Director General of Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) said. If the pace of growth is maintained, exports may close the fiscal at a new high of $22 billion. That would be a more than 14% growth compared to the $19.2 billion achieved in 2018-19, he said during a media interaction in Hyderabad. The growth in the first four months — exports were around $6.7 billion — came on the back of better tidings in the key U.S. market, especially driven by stability in prices.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Regional Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
338 14-09-2019 - Tata Group’s Titan ticks longer : Titan was born when HMT (Hindustan Machine Tools) used to be the time keeper of the nation. Set up in 1986, the firm, so far, has seen only two CEOs — Xerxes Desai, the founding MD who served until 2002 and Bhaskar Bhat who took over the reigns of the company in that year. Mr. Desai was at the helm for 16 years and Mr. Bhat would have put in more than 17 years with the company and 34 years with the Tata Group, when he retires on September 30. Tata Group already has a succession plan in place. C.K. Venkataraman, earlier CEO of Titan’s jewellery business, will take over as the third MD of Titan Company in October this year.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
339 14-09-2019 - Cash withdrawal without debit card : Public sector lender Indian Bank will start working on system under which customers can withdraw cash without using a debit card. Indian Bank would start working on the system, with interoperability facility, soon after the National Payments Corporation of India comes out with a specifications. The bank in association with Loylty Rewardz Mngt Pvt. Ltd., launched a loyalty programme called ‘Ind Advantage,’ wherein Indian Bank customers would earn rewards for using debit card, internet and mobile banking facilities. The rewards can be redeemed for merchandise tickets, recharge coupons etc. on the programme’s website www.inadvantage.com or at stores.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
340 13-09-2019 - Maritime communication launched : VSAT solutions provider Nelco, a Tata enterprise, announced the launch of maritime communication services, becoming India’s first company to provide broadband services to the maritime sector. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, and Anshu Prakash, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, inaugurated the services in Mumbai. Nelco, through global partnerships and infrastructure, including transponder capacity on the satellite of ISRO and service portfolio, will help energy, cargo and cruise vessels by enhancing operational efficiency. The in-flight and maritime communications (IFMC) licence has not only enabled connectivity for on-board users on ships but also brings operational efficiencies for shipping companies which were less evolved until now.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Science and Technology)
341 13-09-2019 - SC is unhappy : The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, which is hearing the Ayodhya dispute appeals, took a serious view of the comment reportedly made by an Uttar Pradesh Minister that the Ram temple would be built on the disputed land as the "Supreme Court is ours". U.P. Cooperative Minister Mukut Bihari Sharma’s comments came at an interaction with the media in Bharaich. The Chief Justice said the court condemned such statements, and the parties on both sides of the dispute would get a fair and free hearing. He said the court’s reservations would be recorded in its order.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Religion, Social Issues)
342 13-09-2019 - Designs on Delhi : The Centre is planning on changing the skyline of the historic seat of power in New Delhi, with a new or completely retrofitted Parliament building, one common Central Secretariat for all Ministries after demolition of existing office buildings and redevelopment of the 3-km Central Vista that stretches from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. The ambitious project of the Narendra Modi government was set in motion with the publication of a request for proposal (RFP) by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry’s Central Public Works Department on September 2. Design and architecture firms — both domestic and foreign — were invited to a pre-bid meeting.
(Art Culture Literature, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Infrastructure)
343 13-09-2019 - Privatisation of Indian Railways : The Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express will be the first train that will not be operated by the Railways, perhaps as early as the first week of October. The Ministry of Railways plans to allow private players to operate certain trains, and as part of its 100-day agenda, the IRCTC has been asked to run two trains. The second, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Expess, is likely to start operations this Dec.. To make the travel attractive, on offer are: free travel insurance worth Rs.25 lakh, on-board infotainment services, doorstep baggage collection, local food and no tatkal quota. IRCTC will pay the Railways lease and haulage charges for running these trains. However, the loco-pilots, guards and station masters will be from the Railways.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure)
344 13-09-2019 - Habeas Corpus plea withdrawn : The Delhi High Court allowed bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal to withdraw the plea challenging his detention from IGI Airport, New Delhi on August 14 in the wake of the withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. A Bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal granted Mr. Faesal permission to withdraw his plea after his wife filed an affidavit in this regard. The politician’s wife told the High Court that she recently met him in custody and has received instructions to withdraw the habeas corpus plea, which requires a person under detention or illegal custody to be brought before a court. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, did not oppose the withdrawal of the plea.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
345 13-09-2019 - Gujarat versus Union : The Centre is gearing up for a tussle with the Gujarat government over the recently amended Motor Vehicles (MV) Amendment Act, 2019, which imposes steeper penalties for road traffic violations. Gujarat has imposed fines below the lower limit prescribed in the MV Act and has also altered those fines it is not permitted to change under the Act. Road transport falls in the Concurrent List and, therefore, both Centre and States are allowed to legislate on the subject. For example, the Gujarat government has imposed a fine of Rs.500 for not wearing a seatbelt but the Centre has laid down Rs.1,000 as the penalty, without providing a minimum or maximum limit.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, People and Personalities)
346 13-09-2019 - Muzaffarpur shelter home case : The Supreme Court allowed eight of the 44 girls in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur shelter home abuse case to be repatriated with their families and asked the State to provide financial and medical aid for the children. A Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana directed the State to assess the compensation payable to them and report back to the court. The court asked the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to submit a status report on the condition of the remaining girls in two months. The court’s decision came after TISS filed its field action project ‘Koshish’ in a sealed cover, vouching that the eight girls were fit to return to their families.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues)
347 13-09-2019 - More Hindi please : Concerned that there isn't sufficient representation of scientific topics on Wikipedia in Indian languages other than English, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is planning to translate — via a combination of artificial intelligence-based software, translators and scientists — scores of articles into Hindi. There are about 50 lakh Wikipedia articles in English and only 125,000 comparable ones in Hindi, according to the DST, the nodal agency that funds civilian science research. The Wikipedia project will first involve translating a large number of science-based wikis and eventually move on to creating original content in Indian languages. Hindi would be the beginning but it would branch out to other languages, Mr. Sharma added.
(Governance and Institutions, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
348 13-09-2019 - SC stay on tribals' eviction : The Supreme Court continued its stay on the eviction of lakhs of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers whose claims for forest land rights have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006. A Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra posted the case for hearing on November 26 and said the stay order first issued on February 28 would continue. The Bench referred to how resorts and illegal structures have encroached on forest lands and led to the depletion of the green cover. Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for one of the parties, said the focus should be on the lakhs of forest dwellers who face eviction. The court said “the mighty and the undeserving” who had encroached on forest lands would be shown no mercy.
(Constitution and Law, Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
349 13-09-2019 -
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana : PM N. Modi, who was in the Jharkhand capital, launched ambitious pension schemes for farmers, shopkeepers and self-employed persons. Mr. Modi also inaugurated a new building of the Assembly and a multi-modal cargo terminal, which is expected to ease transportation in the region. The ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana’ will help small and marginal farmers by providing a minimum pension of Rs.3,000 per month, on attaining the age of 60. Farmers who are currently between 18 and 40 years of age can apply for the scheme. The ‘Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan Dhan Yojana’, a pension scheme for shopkeepers and retail traders was also launched. Another ‘Swarojgar’ pension scheme was also rolled out for self-employed persons. Under both the schemes, beneficiaries between 18 and 40 years will get Rs.3,000 per month after completing 60 years of age.
(Agriculture, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
350 13-09-2019 - Brexit lies and questions : British PM Boris Johnson denied that he had lied to Queen Elizabeth II when requesting the suspension of Parliament this month in the run-up to Brexit. Mr. Johnson asked the British head of state to shutter Parliament for five weeks from Sept. 10, claiming it was necessary ahead of rolling out a new domestic agenda. The unusually long suspension — known as prorogation — was widely seen as a bid to thwart opposition to a no-deal departure on the October 31 Brexit date, and provoked uproar across the political spectrum as well as legal challenges. Asked if he had misled Queen Elizabeth over his motives for the suspension, which will see the House of Commons closed until October 14, Mr. Johnson said: “Absolutely not”
(History, People and Personalities, Regional Economy, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy, World Politics)
351 13-09-2019 - Exoplanet with water promise : Water has been discovered for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet with earth-like temperatures that could support life as we know it, scientists have revealed. Eight times the mass of earth and twice as big, K2-18b orbits in its star’s “habitable zone” at a distance — neither too far nor too close — where water can exist in liquid form, they reported in the journal Nature Astronomy. Of the more than 4,000 exoplanets detected to date, this is the first known to combine a rocky surface and an atmosphere with water. Most exoplanets with atmospheres are giant balls of gas, and the handful of rocky planets for which data is available seem to have no atmosphere at all.
(Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
352 13-09-2019 - Immigration in US : The U.S. Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s administration to implement asylum restrictions that prevent most Central American migrants from applying at the U.S. border. Democrats said the ruling puts people’s lives at risk. The decision — temporarily in effect while lower court proceedings play out — is a victory for Mr. Trump’s restrictive immigration policies, which he has made a central pillar of his presidency but which have been repeatedly challenged in court. The top court stayed a decision by a lower court that had blocked the restrictions, which declare ineligible for asylum any migrants who enter the U.S. from the southern border and who have not asked for asylum protection in any of the countries they crossed to get to there.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Politics)
353 13-09-2019 - Movies at TIFF : It’s a Scarlett Johansson special at TIFF this year with the actor featuring in two of the most rewarding films of the festival so far: Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit. The actor is the luminous soul who personifies the spirit of resistance and humanity deeply embedded in Waititi’s sharp and funny takedown of totalitarianism. In contrast, in Baumbach’s Marriage Story, she is the vulnerable but decisive woman who wants to move on in life, away from a “happy” marriage to find herself again. Baumbach puts a collapsing marriage under the microscope, something that has often been attempted in cinema before, from Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage to Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine. Baumbach’s gaze is distinguished by its warmth, tenderness and sympathy.
(Art Culture Literature, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
354 13-09-2019 - Good news on IIP : Industrial activity rebounded in July to 4.3% on a broad-based recovery across key sectors such as mining, manufacturing and construction. In a separate release, data showed retail inflation rose in August to hit a 10-month high of 3.21% on quickening food price rises. Growth in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) accelerated in July after a slump in June when it touched 1.17%. Within the index, the mining sector accelerated to 4.92% in July compared with 1.53% in June. The manufacturing sector, similarly, saw growth quicken to 4.15% from 0.23% over the same period.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Regional Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
355 13-09-2019 - Slowdown claims the RE event : The ongoing slowdown in the economy, coupled with subdued activity in the renewable energy sector, has led to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) postponing its flagship expo RE-INVEST by a year to October 2020. The third RE-INVEST expo was originally slated to take place between October 31 and November 2, 2019. The government has not provided any reason for the postponement other than that it was due to “unavoidable circumstances”. This is not the first time the expo has been postponed. The second edition of RE-INVEST, originally slated to take place in February 2016, was postponed five times before it finally took place in October 2018.
(Energy, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
356 12-09-2019 - House Arrest, in Andhra : Amid high drama, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu and his son Nara Lokesh were placed under preventive detention at their residence at Undavalli. The police detained them to foil their plan to take out a ‘Chalo Atmakuru’ rally to protest against alleged attacks on TDP workers and sympathisers by YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) members. The police locked the main gate of his residence from outside as he tried to leave for Atmakuru, a village in the Palnadu region of Guntur district, earlier known for political factionalism. Mr. Naidu alleged that 125 people belonging to the Scheduled Tribes, the Scheduled Castes and minority communities were targeted by YSRCP workers, forcing them to leave Atmakuru.

(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities)
357 12-09-2019 - Discipline needed, not the money : Defending its steep fines under the new Motor Vehicles Act, the government said that intention is not to garner revenue but to make people follow rules in order to reduce the number of accidents. His statement comes a day after BJP-ruled Gujarat slashed penalties for traffic violations. In some cases, the fines have been brought down to as low as ₹1,000 from ₹10,000. While Parliament in July passed the more stringent Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, some States, including those ruled by the BJP, have opposed the high penalties proposed under the Bill.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, People and Personalities)
358 12-09-2019 - UN on Kashmir : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres remained concerned about any escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue and appealed to both sides to deal with it through dialogue. Mr. Guterres met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 summit last month in Biarritz, France, and has spoken to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Mr. Guterres met Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi, at her request, to discuss the Kashmir issue. Mr. Dujarric was asked whether Mr. Guterres planned to mediate between India and Pakistan during the UN General Assembly session, scheduled for later this month, which would be attended by Mr. Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, United Nations)
359 12-09-2019 - Swelling Narmada brings troubles : As the swelling Narmada continues to submerge villages in Madhya Pradesh, the State government has begun surveying areas even outside the submergence zone to identify affected families and extend them immediate relief. The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), fighting for the rights of project-affected families, drew the government’s attention to many who were left out of previous surveys of the zone demarcated after the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam downstream was raised to 138.68 metres in 2017. The NBA has been calling upon the government to appeal to the Centre and Gujarat to postpone filling the dam by October 15 as many people residing along the river upstream had not been rehabilitated.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues)
360 12-09-2019 - SC on inter-religion marriages : The Supreme Court asked a man, who converted from Islam to Hinduism to marry a Hindu girl, to prove his bona fide. Noting that he must be “a loyal husband and not only a great lover”, a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M.R. Shah explained that the court has asked him to prove his good intentions by filing an affidavit only in order to secure the girl’s future and safety. The case was heard on an appeal filed by the girl’s parents for their daughter. They moved the court after the Chhattisgarh High Court recorded the 24-year-old girl’s willingness to live with her ‘husband.’
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
361 12-09-2019 - What about e-cigarettes : The Union Cabinet is likely to approve an ordinance prohibiting the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in the country. The law would make production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution or advertisements of e-cigarettes a cognizable offence. Anti-tobacco health experts are calling it a move in the right direction but the tobacco industry and its allies state that if enforced, this would be a “draconian law hitting at the livelihood of many.” As per the draft bill, the offence will be punishable with jail up to one year or fine up to ₹1 lakh or both for first-time offenders, and jail of up to three years and fine up to ₹5 lakh for repeat offenders.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
362 12-09-2019 - Courts versus Boris : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a fresh blow when a Scottish court ruled that his controversial decision to suspend Parliament in the run-up to Brexit was unlawful. The government immediately appealed, with the case set to be heard in the Supreme Court, and Parliament set to remain shut in the meantime. Mr. Johnson says the decision to suspend — or prorogue — Parliament until October 14 is a routine move allowing his government to launch a new legislative agenda. But critics accuse him of trying to silence parliamentary opposition to his threat to leave the European Union on October 31 even if he has failed to agree divorce terms with Brussels.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy, World Politics)
363 12-09-2019 - Afghan embroglio : Fighting has picked up in several areas of northern Afghanistan, days after the collapse of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban aimed at agreeing the withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops.  There was fighting in at least 10 provinces, with the heaviest clashes in the northern regions of Takhar, Baghlan, Kunduz and Badakhshan, where the Taliban have been pressing security forces for weeks. Security forces retook the district of Koran-Wa-Monjan in Badakhshan. The district, which fell to the Taliban in July, had offered the insurgents valuable mining revenues from its rich reserves of the famous blue lapis lazuli stone.
(Defence and Military, History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
364 12-09-2019 - Why Bolton got the boot : U.S. President Donald Trump said he fired controversial National Security Adviser John Bolton for not being “smart,” particularly in his comments seen as threatening North Korea’s dictator. In his first full account of the sacking, Mr. Trump homed in on Mr. Bolton’s strained relationship with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader whom Mr. Trump frequently describes as a friend. Mr. Trump said discord between him and the hawkish adviser goes back to early 2018 when Mr. Bolton said that the denuclearisation of Libya under then leader Muammer Qadhafi could be a model for North Korea.
(Defence and Military, History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, United Nations, World Politics)
365 12-09-2019 - Netanyahu will cause disruption : Arab and Muslim countrieson led a wave of outcry warning of disastrous consequences for the stagnant Israeli-Palestinian peace process, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to annex a key part of the occupied West Bank if re-elected. They also warned in a statement of “the ramifications of these dangerous, illegal and irresponsible” moves saying it would “undermine the chances of progress in the peace process”.  Mr. Netanyahu’s pledge involves extending Israel’s sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea which account for one-third of the West Bank if he wins next week’s elections. However, it would not include annexing any Palestinian cities.
(Defence and Military, History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Politics)
366 12-09-2019 - No contract workers, only employees : In a major legislative development that could have a profound impact on the gig economy, California’s State Senate passed, 29 to 11, a Bill requiring ride hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to treat their contract workers as employees. The Bill, which is likely to pass the State Assembly and get the Governor’s signature to become law, will enhance workers’ rights, increase costs for gig economy companies and potentially have knock-on effects in other States. The Bill, known as AB 5, is a consequence of a California Supreme Court 2018 ruling on employee status and could cost Uber and Lyft $3,625 per driver as per a report from Barclays, released in June.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy, World Politics)
367 12-09-2019 - IT decision and strange fallout : The Income Tax Department’s decision in August 2019 to increase the monetary limit for the cases below which it could not appeal the court’s decision has somewhat backfired — it is now detecting a lot of organised tax evasions, specifically designed to fall below that threshold. The Department has issued a circular saying it would file special appeals in cases falling below the threshold, if it feels there is evidence of deliberate tax avoidance. The August increase in the limits was a drastic one, doubling them for some cases, and more than doubling them for others. The floor for filing appeals in the ITAT was increased from ₹20 lakh to ₹50 lakh.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
368 12-09-2019 - Xstream by Airtel : Bharti Airtel launched the Airtel Xstream Fibre that will offer users access to broadband services a speed of 1 Gbps for ₹3,999 a month. The announcement comes a week after rival Reliance Jio launched its Jio Fiber, offering a minimum of 100 Mbps speed with a starting plan of ₹699. The company had also announced plans for offering 1 Gbps speed starting from ₹3,999 a month. Bharti Airtel said its Xstream Fibre service will be available to homes, SOHO (small office home office) and small commercial establishments in Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Ghaziabad, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Indore, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. Over the coming months, Airtel Xstream Fibre would be rolled out in more markets.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
369 12-09-2019 - NCLT updates : The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), New Delhi, has junked an appeal filed by Shaji Purushothaman, director, Empee Distilleries Ltd., who had sought the setting aside of the bankruptcy proceedings against the company. The Chennai Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had admitted insolvency proceedings against Empee Distilleries on November 1, 2018, in a case filed by Union Bank of India. The committee of creditors (CoC) had unanimously approved the resolution plan by SNJ Distillers and submitted it to NCLT for approval, which was pending. In the meantime, Mr. Purushothaman moved a miscellaneous application before NCLT seeking dismissal of the insolvency petition and offering to settle claims of all the creditors. However, the NCLT dismissed that petition, against which he moved the NCLAT.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
370 12-09-2019 - Bullish on India : E-commerce major Amazon.in has announced significant expansion of its delivery network in India to cater to enhanced festive demand and ensure timely delivery of products. It has doubled the presence of its delivery service partner network with more than 1,400 delivery stations put up in 750 cities. Last year, this number was 700 in 500 cities. With this, Amazon India has doubled its direct delivery presence in States such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The service partner programme is one of the last-mile models by Amazon wherein more than 250 entrepreneurs across the country have partnered with the company to provide local distribution services at places including smaller towns such as Anand, Cuddapah, Azamgarh, Kodagu, Hamirpur, Koraput and Solan.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
371 11-09-2019 - Polls in Jammu and Kashmir : The schedule for the elections to 316 Block Development Councils (BDCs) in Jammu and Kashmir will be announced in a day or two, with the polls to be completed before the State is formally declared a Union Territory on October 31. The elections will take forward the process towards full devolution to rural and urban local bodies. After the December 2018 panchayat elections, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah announced their intention to hold these polls.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Economy, Regional Politics, Social Issues)
372 11-09-2019 - UNHRC is being polarised : India declared that Pakistan was trying to polarise the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to advance its agenda in South Asia. Speaking in response to multiple Kashmir-centric statements from Pakistan at the UN body’s 42nd Regular Session in Geneva, an Indian diplomat shed light on the contradiction between Pakistan’s attempts to champion human rights in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the denial of the same rights to various communities within Pakistan.
(Social Issues, Terrorism, United Nations, World Politics)
373 11-09-2019 - India must resume buying Iranian oil : India’s decision to shut down oil imports from Iran owing to sanctions imposed by the United States is also hurting India-Iran bilateral trade and India’s future in the Chabahar port, Iranian Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni said. In the first public comments about the government’s decision to fall in line with the U.S. sanctions and “zero out” oil purchases after May 2 this year, he said India had “fought hard for its independence” and should not have given in to “unilateral sanctions” from the U.S.
(Energy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Regional Politics, World Politics)
374 11-09-2019 - Delhi leads in startups : With more than 7,000 start-ups, the Delhi-NCR area now has the largest number of active start-ups in the country, pipping cities like Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai, according to a report by TiE Delhi-NCR and consulting firm Zinnov released. As per the report ‘Turbocharging Delhi-NCR Start-up Ecosystem’, Delhi-NCR accounted for 23% of the start-ups with a cumulative value of $50 billion. The National Capital Region (NCR) includes cities such as Gurugram, Noida and Faridabad.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Social Issues)
375 11-09-2019 - Lynched, but not lynched : The family members of Tabrez Ansari, who was lynched in Seraikela-Kharsawan district of Jharkhand about four months ago, have accused the State police of weakening the case by toning down the charges against the accused. In the chargesheet submitted last month, police had sought prosecution against 11 accused under Section 304 instead of under Section 302 of the IPC. They had demanded supply of the copy of investigation conducted by Sub-divisional magistrate and a re-examination of viscera samples of the deceased.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues)
376 11-09-2019 - Gaushalas of MP : The MP government is going to launch an online service for those wanting to adopt a cow and provide sheds to them at gaushalas (cow shelters) across the State. While paying for a cow’s feed for 15 days would cost Rs. 1,100, one could take care of its diet for 10 years for Rs. 3 lakh. Feeding a cow for six months would cost Rs. 11,100. Through the service, donors would be able to pick a gaushala from the 626 in the State, and pay the amount to fulfil a cow’s diet of half a kilo of grain, five kilos of green feed and 10 kilos of wheat chaff a day, in case of a non-lactating, non-pregnant cow.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
377 11-09-2019 - Drug racket busted : With the arrest of five men, the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has busted a major drug racket in the city. A whopping 129 kg of mephedrone worth Rs. 52 crore in the international market was seized from the accused. Based on a tip-off, the ATS officers intercepted two men near Bhandup pumping station on Eastern Express Highway. Mr. Deshmane said the accused revealed during their interrogation that they were part of a gang that manufactured mephedrone in a sophisticated laboratory and supplied it across the city.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
378 11-09-2019 - Two new botanical species found : Scientists from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered two new species of Zingiber, commonly referred to as ginger, in Nagaland. While Zingiber perenense has been discovered from the Peren district of Nagaland, Zingiber dimapurense was found in the Dimapur district of the State. Details of both discoveries were published in two peer-reviewed journals earlier this year. Of the two species, Zingiber dimapurense is taller in size, with leafy shoots measuring 90-120 cm high, whereas the leafy shoots of Zingiber perenense reach up to 70 cm in height.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
379 11-09-2019 - You're no longer needed, Bolton : U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, considered the most hawkish among senior Trump administration officials, left his post. Mr. Bolton, the third National Security Adviser in the current administration, had a long list of differences with U.S. President Donald Trump on a range of security and foreign policy issues — including Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan, leading to his departure around midday. Mr Bolton’s account of his departure differed from that of his former boss. This incident proves how Trump's major policy moves are backfiring spectacularly. (Defence and Military, People and Personalities, World Politics)
380 11-09-2019 - America will pay a price, warn the Taliban : The Afghan Taliban vowed to continue fighting against U.S. forces in Afghanistan after President Donald Trump said talks with the insurgents were “dead”, saying Washington would regret abandoning negotiations. The renewed war of words between the two sides raised the spectre of violence in Afghanistan as Mr. Trump and the Taliban pledged to take the fight to each other following the precipitous collapse in talks.
(Defence and Military, History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
381 11-09-2019 - Updates from a semi autonomous region : Hong Kong’s embattled leader warned the U.S. not to "interfere" with her government’s response to the city’s pro-democracy movement. Protesters took to the streets again, marching to the American consulate to call on Congress to pass a Bill expressing support for the pro-democracy movement. The proposed law could undermine Hong Kong’s special U.S. trade privileges by mandating regular checks on whether authorities were respecting the Basic Law that underpins the city’s semi-autonomous status.
(History, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
382 11-09-2019 - CBDT, NSE tiff : The CBDT has rejected the National Stock Exchange’s request to grant 'recognised association' status to the commodity derivatives segment, citing violation of certain Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) norms and Income Tax rules. The approval was sought by exchanges so that traders could get tax benefits by using the platform. Derivatives trading in recognised exchanges is not treated as speculation. According to Sec 43(5) of the Income Tax Act, any derivative transaction entered into at a recognised stock exchange is not treated as speculative, and losses can be set off against normal business profit.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
383 11-09-2019 - MSME concerns : Ahead of the Union Commerce and Industries Minister’s meeting with exporters and importers on Sept. 11 to discuss trade policy instruments, exporters have flagged certain concerns, saying the government should help build large capacity for exports instead of announcing measures only for the MSME sector. He said that the exporters were at the mercy of foreign shipping lines in the absence of a national shipping line. A national shipping regulatory body should also be formed to determine freight rates.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
384 11-09-2019 - What will happen to the automobile industry in India? As the market continues to lose appetite for demand and the situation is unlikely to improve in the near term, auto majors finding the going difficult are adjusting to the new normal. While most auto companies are constantly cutting down production to reduce the inventory on factory premises and at dealerships, they are focussing on export markets to make up for the losses in the home market. As per the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) data, domestic auto sales for August plunged 25% year-on-year.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, World Economy)
385 11-09-2019 - India and ASEAN to review their FTA : India and the 10-member bloc of southeast Asian nations have agreed to review their free trade agreement, signed in 2009, to make it more business-friendly and boost economic ties. The two sides also decided to constitute a joint committee for this purpose. This was agreed upon during the meeting between economic Ministers of ASEAN and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in Bangkok. They met for the 16th AEM-India consultations. The Ministers tasked officials to work on the details of the review of the agreement and submit an update before the next ministerial meet.

(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy, World Politics)
386 10-09-2019 - Auto sales in free fall : Continuing the free fall, automobile sales in the country declined by 23.55% in August 2019 — the worst drop in monthly sales since the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) started recording wholesale vehicle sales data in 1997-98. This follows the steepest sales decline of 18.71% in nearly 19 years in July 2019 witnessed by the industry reeling under a prolonged demand slump, mainly due to poor consumer sentiment amid slowing economic growth. The vehicle sales across categories stood at about 18.21 lakh units in the last month, down from over 23.82 lakh units in August 2018.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
387 10-09-2019 - Crashed out : Domestic passenger vehicle sales, which comprise cars, utility vehicles and vans, contracted for the tenth straight month to about 1.96 lakh units down 31.6% from about 2.87 lakh units in August 2018. Sales of vans and cars were badly hit, falling over 47% to 9,089 units and 41% to nearly 1.16 lakh units, respectively. Utility vehicle sales fell 2.20% to 71,478 units. Commercial vehicle sales — which are usually seen as an indicator of the economic activity in the country — tumbled nearly 39% to 51,897 units.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
388 10-09-2019 - UNHCR on Kashmir and Assam : Delivering the opening statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet cited the situation in Kashmir and Assam, where lakhs have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens, and asked the Centre to “respect” civil rights. India ended the special status for the State of Jammu and Kashmir guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution and put the newly created UT in a state of indefinite curfew. Following the declaration, UN Security Council held a special consultation on the situation in the territory on August 16.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, United Nations, World Politics)
389 10-09-2019 - SBI cuts MCLR based lending rate : State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, reduced its benchmark lending rate — the MCLR — by 10 basis points (bps). With this cut, the one year MCLR of the bank, to which most loan rates are linked, will be 8.15%. The move will benefit all the existing SBI customers having home, auto and any other category of loans that are linked to the marginal cost of fund based lending rate (MCLR). The rate cut is aimed at boosting loan demand in this festive season. This is the fifth rate cut by the SBI this financial year. The bank has cut its MCLR by 40 bps since April. The RBI has reduced the key policy rate or the repo rate by 110 bps between February and August to boost slowing growth.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
390 10-09-2019 - Don't fear, my fellow citizens, don't fear : Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the people of the northeast had nothing to fear from a fresh Citizenship (Amendment) Bill the Centre may push through. The Centre’s bid to pass such a Bill in January had triggered widespread protests across the northeastern States as it sought to legitimise the stay of allegedly persecuted non-Muslim migrants from India’s neighbourhood. Mr. Shah was addressing fears expressed by the Chief Ministers of the region and the “spillover effect” of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) at the fourth conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a forum of anti-Congress parties helmed by the BJP.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues)
391 10-09-2019 - TN consumes less iodised salt : Tamil Nadu has the lowest consumption of iodised salt despite being the third biggest producer of salt in the country, according to a first-of-its-kind national survey to measure the coverage of iodised salt. The study shows that 76.3% of Indian households consumed adequately iodised salt, which is salt with at least 15 parts per million of iodine. The five worst performers were Tamil Nadu (61.9%), Andhra Pradesh (63.9%), Rajasthan (65.5%), Odisha (65.8%) and Jharkhand (68.8%). The survey was conducted by Nutrition International in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD). The survey tested the iodine content in samples of cooking salt from households to estimate the coverage of iodised salt.
(Education, Indian Economy, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
392 10-09-2019 - Terror alert for south India : The Army has received inputs that there may be a terror attack in the southern part of India, a top Army commander said. Some abandoned boats have been recovered in the Sir Creek area, Lt. Gen. S.K. Saini, GOC-in-C of the Army’s Southern Command, told reporters at an event near Pune. The Army has taken measures in the Sir Creek region, keeping in mind the enhanced threat perception, he said. Kerala police chief Lokanath Behera, meanwhile, asked all district police heads to maintain high alert across the State. The Director General of Police directed personnel to maintain heightened vigil at bus stands, railway stations, airports and places where people gather in large numbers.
(Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Terrorism)
393 10-09-2019 - Multiple dying statements - what to do : In a case of divergent and multiple dying declarations, the court need not invariably pick the one that incriminates the acc