Current Affairs Headlines

S. No.Headlines
1 27-02-2020 - Death toll rises to 27 in Delhi violence–The death toll in Delhi’s worst-ever communal violence since 1984 rose to 27, with 14 more persons succumbing to injuries sustained in clashes that began over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Sunday evening. After four days, both the Centre and the Delhi government swung into action, with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal going to the disturbed parts of the city on Wednesday to rebuild confidence among people. In a walkabout shown live on television, Mr. Doval spoke to residents, some of whom posed tough questions. A bearded man could be heard telling him: “Muslims are being killed wherever their numbers are few.”
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
2 27-02-2020 - Assam at the centre of fresh border row–Assam is at the centre of a fresh inter-State border row in the northeastern region. The Mizoram government has sought the revision of the boundary with Assam, based on the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873 and the Inner Line of the Lushai Hills Notification of 1993. This followed an alleged bid by the Assam police on February 19 to pitch a camp at Umlawi in West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, bordering Assam’s Kamrup district, and a Nagaland group’s reported attempt to grab land in eastern Assam’s Jorhat district on February 12. The BEFR allows Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland not to let non-resident Indians in without an inner-line permit for a temporary stay. Mizoram used to be the Lushai Hills district of Assam before being made a Union Territory in 1972 and a State in 1987.
(Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
3 27-02-2020 - IAF aircraft lands in Wuhan with medical supplies –India sent a heavy lift military transport aircraft to the COVID-19-hit Wuhan in China. The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) C-17 Globemaster III aircraft carried 15 tonnes of medical supplies and will bring back around 120 citizens and five infants while flying back. Apart from the Indian nationals, the flight is also expected to bring back citizens of neighbouring countries. An Indian based in Wuhan said the Indian Embassy in Beijing had asked the citizens to remain ready for evacuation and the official process was underway.

(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
4 27-02-2020 - Union Cabinet approves major changes to the Surogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020–The Union Cabinet approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill after incorporating recommendations of a Rajya Sabha Select Committee. A parliamentary panel had recommended that not only close relatives but any woman who is “willing” should be allowed to act as a surrogate. The 15 major changes suggested by the 23-member select committee of Rajya Sabha to the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, also included deleting the definition of “infertility” as the inability to conceive after five years of unprotected intercourse on the ground that it was too long a period for a couple to wait for a child.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
5 27-02-2020 - Cabinet approves amendments to give occupancy rights to scheduled times in Lakshadweep–The union cabinet approved amendment of the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands Land Revenue and Tenancy Regulation, 1965 to confer occupancy rights to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) population in the union territory. Briefing reporters about the decisions, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Lakshadweep island mostly comprises ST population and they did not have occupancy rights.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
6 27-02-2020 - Covid-19 has infected every continent except Antarctica –Asia reported hundreds of new coronavirus cases, including an American soldier stationed in South Korea, as the US warned of a pandemic, the disease spread in Europe and Brazil confirmed Latin America’s first infection. And for the first time, more new cases were reported outside China than inside, according to the World Health Organisation. Chinese officials reported 411 new infections; in the rest of the world, the number was 427. The total number of cases globally has now reached 80,980 and nearly 3,000 have died.

(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
7 27-02-2020 - AGR dues: Voda Idea seeks relief; asks DoT for Rs 8,000 crore GST refund –Financially stressed telecom operator Vodafone Idea, in a letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), has sought the adjustment of goods and services tax (GST) refund to the tune of Rs 8,000 crore against its dues linked to adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
8 27-02-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Democrats unleashed a roaring assault against Bernie Sanders and seized on Mike Bloomberg’s past with women in the workplace during a contentious debate that tested the strength of the two men at the center of the party’s presidential nomination fight. As the undeniable Democratic front-runner, Sanders faced the brunt of the attacks for much of the night, and for one of the few times, fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren was among the critics. The Massachusetts senator pressed the case that she could execute ideas that the Vermont senator could only talk about.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
9 27-02-2020 - Pakistan's Government Declares Nawaz Sharif "Absconder" –Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been declared an "absconder" by the government for violating the bail requirements by not presenting his medical report from his doctors in London. Mr Sharif, 70, left for London in November last for treatment after the Lahore High Court allowed him to go abroad on medical grounds for four weeks. According to Mr Sharif's physician, the three-time Prime Minister of Pakistan is suffering from complex multi-vessel coronary artery disease and substantial ischemic and threatened myocardium for which he is due to undergo surgery.

(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
10 27-02-2020 - German court scraps ban on assisted suicide – The ruling is a major victory for the terminally ill patients, doctors and assisted suicide organisations who brought the case, complaining that the existing law went too far. Judge Andreas Vosskuhle said the right to a self-determined death included “the freedom to take one’s life and seek help doing so”.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
11 26-02-2020 - CAA violence in Delhi–Clashes triggered by pro- and anti-CAA protesters continued for the third day in northeast Delhi as the death toll mounted to 13. Most of the deaths were due to gunshot wounds. Mobs carrying lathis roamed the streets of northeast Delhi, attacking shops and burning vehicles even as Delhi police PRO M.S. Randhawa claimed that the situation was under control. Rioters also opened fire and threw stones at each other. Late in the evening, curfew was imposed at Maujpur, Jaffrabad, Chandbagh and Karawal Nagar. Shoot-at-sight orders in parts of northeast Delhi were also issued. The anti-CAA protest site in the troubled area had been “cleared”.

(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
12 26-02-2020 - Trump’s visit to India–India and the US strengthened their partnership with agreements on healthcare and energy, and issued a joint statement that designated the two countries as “Comprehensive Global Strategic partners”. The statement followed bilateral talks between Prime Minister NarendraModi and U.S. President Donald Trump, during which the latter renewed his offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and discussed the issue of “religious freedom”.The discussions took place at Hyderabad House even as communally-charged mob violence in several parts of the city left homes and shops burning.

(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
13 26-02-2020 - Bihar became the first NDA ruled state to pass resolution against CAA–The Bihar Assembly unanimously passed a resolution not to implement the National Register of Citizens. It also said the National Population Register will be implemented in the 2010 format.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
14 26-02-2020 - 5 SC judges catch H1N1 virus, rights hearing hit –In the past 10 days, Supreme Court judges and thousands of lawyers practising there have been spooked by H1N1 with five judges kept in isolation on being found infected with the virus. This derailed day-to-day hearing by a nine-judge bench to outline the ambit and scope of right to religion. The first to be struck down by H1N1 was a judge who is part of the nine-judge bench, which on February 10 heard arguments for just two hours. The judge’s illness has derailed the hearing since then. He has almost recovered, brightening the chances of early resumption of hearing. After him, the flu spread quickly, catching four others. Of the four, three had a milder attack of H1N1. Though infected much later than the first judge, they have fully recovered and resumed court work.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
15 26-02-2020 - J&K HC order throws light on state-backed land-grab –Laying bare a trail of alleged land grab in Kashmir stretching two decades back and involving “several public figures and government officials”, the J&K high court has noted how the nowdefunctRoshni scheme became a much-misused instrument to transfer large tracts of encroached state and forest land to “beneficiaries” at a fourth of their market value. A February 20 order issued by a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice TashiRabstan on a 2014 PIL seeking reclamation of 12,030.49 hectares of demarcated forest land also mentions repeated attempts by a section of officials “to withhold information from this court”.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
16 26-02-2020 - COVID 19 outbreak updates–Health officials in the U.S. warned that the fast-spreading coronavirus is certain to reach the country at some point, even as their counterparts in Europe and Asia scrambled to contain new outbreaks of the illness. Some countries are erecting police checkpoints, issuing travel warnings and suspending flights, vowing to check the spread of the disease. Reports of new clusters far from the virus’ apparent origin point in China drove worries in financial markets for a second straight day. But with a widening global crisis encompassing not just Asia, but also Europe and the Middle East, there is a sense the virus will inevitably press into new places.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
17 26-02-2020 - Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian strongman undone by the Arab Spring, dead at 91 –During his 29 years in power, Mubarak survived would-be assassins and ill health, crushed a rising Islamist radical movement and maintained the peace pact with neighboring Israel that got his predecessor killed. Mubarak was in the intensive care unit at a military hospital in Cairo when he died. He was in surgery on January 23, according to a tweet by his son Alaa Mubarak.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
18 26-02-2020 - GuiMinhai: Hong Kong bookseller gets 10 years jail – A Chinese court has sentenced Hong Kong bookseller GuiMinhai to 10 years in jail for "illegally providing intelligence overseas". Mr Gui, who holds Swedish citizenship, has been in and out of Chinese detention since 2015, when he went missing during a holiday in Thailand. He is known to have previously published books on the personal lives of Chinese Communist Party members. Rights groups condemned the "harsh sentence" and called for his release. He was one of five owners of a small bookstore in Hong Kong who went missing in 2015. It later emerged that they had been taken to China. Four were later freed, but Mr Gui remained in Chinese detention.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
19 26-02-2020 - First leg of India-US trade deal likely in 3 months–The first leg of the India-US trade deal will largely be about tariff concessions on goods and would be concluded in around three months. A larger free trade agreement (FTA) would be all encompassing, and include aspects other than goods such as services, intellectual property rights (IPR) and investment. The initial deal is likely to include restoration of benefits of low or zero duty to certain Indian exports under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), and market access for each other’s agricultural products.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
20 26-02-2020 - Privatisation of airports put on hold– The second round of privatising six airports in Amritsar, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Indore, Raipur and Trichy has been put on the back burner as different arms of the government are debating whether to cap the number of airports an entity can bid for. While the rules framed by the civil aviation ministry and Airports Authority of India (AAI) allow an entity to bid for all airports, the finance ministry and the cabinet secretariat are pressing for a cap, it is learnt.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
21 25-02-2020 - CAA Violence in Delhi–A police head constable and four protesters died in violence that erupted over opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the Jaffrabad, Maujpur and Bhajanpura areas of northeast Delhi. The violence took a communal colour and spread to other parts of northeast Delhi as organised groups attacked each other, setting shops and vehicles on fire. Tensions escalated hours before U.S. President Donald Trump was scheduled to reach Delhi for bilateral talks as part of his first state visit to India. While Mr. Trump will stay in central Delhi, more than 20 km from the violence, he is scheduled to travel to Rashtrapati Bhavan and Raj Ghat in Old Delhi.

(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
22 25-02-2020 - Trump’s India visit–U.S. President Donald Trump, on his maiden two-day visit to India, heaped praise on Prime Minister NarendraModi, calling him a “true friend”, and said his rise from a humble background as a tea-seller to India’s Prime Minister “underscores India’s limitless promise”. The President also described Mr.Modi as a “tremendously successful leader”. Mr. Trump’s lavish praise, while addressing a mammoth crowd at the Motera stadium in Gujarat, reflected the bonhomie shared by the two leaders.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
23 25-02-2020 - Rise in sedition cases–A dissenter is not an anti-national. Holding a contrary view to that of the government does not make one an anti-national, according to Supreme Court judge Justice Deepak Gupta. Justice Gupta made the observation during a lecture organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association on “Democracy and dissent”. His speech received a standing ovation. Justice Gupta red-flagged the hike in sedition cases against activists, lawyers and students and branding voices of dissent as “anti-national”. Expressing dissent to government’s policies did not amount to acting against the nation.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
24 25-02-2020 - Public view is mandatory to apply SC/ST act: Allahabad HC –The Allahabad HC set aside an order of summoning under the Scheduled Castes Act, saying for constituting an offence under this act, public view is mandatory. If the offence has allegedly been committed behind closed doors where no witness is present the SC/ST Act cannot be applied, said Justice RK Gautam while quoting an SC ruling and disposing a plea filed by a Sonbhadra residence against the order of Duddhi judicial magistrate. Petitioner KP Thakur was probe officer in a departmental inquiry against one Vinod Kumar Tanay.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
25 25-02-2020 - PM Kisan Samman Nidhi’s one year complete –One year after the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the Centre has revised the farmer income support scheme’s beneficiary target down to just under 12 crore from 14 crore. In fact, empirical evidence suggests that saturation level will reach around 10 crore families. So far, almost 8.5 crore farmers have benefited. Speaking at an event to mark the first anniversary, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar pointed to West Bengal and Bihar as the major culprits for the lag. While the West Bengal government has refused to join the scheme at all, the Bihar government’s approach of waiting for applicants means more than 60% of potential beneficiaries are yet to register.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
26 25-02-2020 - Fear of coronavirus pandemic grows but China eases curbs as new infections fall –Fears of a coronavirus pandemic grew after sharp rises in new cases reported in Iran, Italy and South Korea but China relaxed restrictions on movements in several places including Beijing as its rates of new infections eased. The surge of infections outside mainland China triggered steep falls in Asian shares and Wall Street stock futures as investors fled to safe havens such as gold. Oil prices tumbled and the Korean won fell to its lowest since August. The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) said it no longer had a process for declaring a pandemic but the coronavirus outbreak remained an international emergency.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
27 25-02-2020 - Malaysia's Mahathir resigns but is asked to stay as interim PM –Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced his resignation but was asked to stay on as interim leader by the country's monarch. Mahathir said in a two-line statement that he had informed the country's king of his resignation.Mahathir also reportedly resigned from his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
28 25-02-2020 - Harvey Weinstein found guilty of rape in watershed case– Weinstein, 67, was convicted in New York City of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act. He was cleared of the most serious count of predatory sexual assault but faces up to 25 years in prison. He still faces charges in Los Angeles of assaulting two women in 2013. At least 80 women had accused him of sexual misconduct stretching back decades, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and Salma Hayek.
(Constitution and Law, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
29 25-02-2020 - Coronavirus outbreak: Sensex falls 807 pts–The benchmark indices logged their largest single-day drop since the Union Budget, amid fears that the outbreak of coronavirus has now become a global pandemic. With an increase in the number of cases outside China, market players said investors were worried over a prolonged economic damage to the global economy.The Sensex closed 807 points or 1.96 per cent lower at 40,363, while the Nifty dropped 242 points or 2 per cent to close at 11,829. All the BSE sectoral indices, as well as components of the Sensex and Nifty, ended the session in the red. The last time all Nifty components had ended with losses was in November 2013.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
30 25-02-2020 - Adani group in race to buy Air India – The Adani group will join the race to acquire Air India and plans to submit an expression of interest (EoI) by next month. The final decision of Adani will, however, depend on the outcome of the due diligence after submission of the EoI. After the EoI process, prospective bidders will get access to data of the airline. Apart from the Adani group, the Tata group, the Hinduja group, Indigo and a New York-based fund, Interups, are expected to submit EoIs.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
31 24-02-2020 - Trump’s India Visit–Ahmedabad’s new Motera Stadium is set to welcome US President Donald Trump with PM Narendra Modi playing host and over a lakh people expected in the arena for the ‘Namaste Trump’ event. A packed stadium will greet Trump and Modi when they reach the venue after a 22km roadshow that will take them to Sabarmati Ashram en route. The US president has indicated in tweets that he is looking forward to the big public reception planned for him in Ahmedabad.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
32 24-02-2020 - Trump’s India VisitThe India-US strategic partnership will see the two countries focusing on four key objectives this week — peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean, counter-terrorism, free and fair trade, and energy. President Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi will also consider ways to promote regional connectivity based on transparency, responsible debt practices and, importantly for India, without violating sovereignty and territorial integrity.Beyond attempts to weed out irritants in bilateral ties, regional and international cooperation will be an important focus area for Trump and Modi when they meet on Tuesday. While the US is expected to encourage India to further promote stability and security in Afghanistan, the Indian side will seek an unambiguous condemnation of cross-border terrorism so as to ensure Pakistan doesn’t feel further emboldened at a time it is openly claiming credit for the Afghan peace deal.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
33 24-02-2020 - Delhi CAA riots: 15 hurt in stone-pelting–Violence erupted in the Jafrabad area of northeast Delhi anti and pro-CAA protesters came face to face, leading to stonepelting and vandalising of vehicles and shops. Police and paramilitary forces managed to restore calm by late evening. Fifteen people, including six policemen and two camera persons were reported injured.

(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
34 24-02-2020 - Regional Peace SAARC revival–Successful regional integration — both economic and security — depends on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) becoming fully functional at the highest levels, Sri Lanka’s former Prime Minister Ranil Wickreme singhe said. Emphasising the need for countries in the region to link up both strategically and economically, Mr. Wickreme singhe said the postponement of the Kathmandu SAARC Summit in 2017 due to heightened tensions between India and Pakistan had brought the regional grouping “to a standstill”.

(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
35 24-02-2020 - New highway in AP, threat to wildlife –Even as work is under way since 2013 to lay a 156 km road through the Namdapha National Park, India’s easternmost tiger reserve, a new highway project to build with a 692.7 km highway through the 862 sq km Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR) in East Kameng district. Named the East-West Industrial Corridor, the highway aims to connect Bhairabhunda in West Kameng district and Manmao in Changlang district along Arunachal Pradesh’s border with Assam. The project makes no mention of compensation for people likely to be displaced. What has set alarm bells ringing for environmentalists is a 40 km elevated stretch through the heart of the PTR as advised by a Gujarat-based firm. As experts says that elevation is no guarantee against felling of trees and disturbing wildlife in the sensitive PTR. This corridor will be a threat to the adjoining Nameri Tiger Reserve in Assam too.

(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
36 24-02-2020 - Gangster Ravi Pujari held in South Africa –Fugitive gangster Ravi Pujari has been arrested in South Africa and was being brought to India by a team of officials. Pujari is wanted in many cases in different parts of the country, including Karnataka. He had been on the run for over 15 years, and was deported to Senegal in West Africa following his arrest, and later extradited. He jumped bail in Senegal last year after being arrested there.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
37 24-02-2020 - COVID-19 updatesIn response to growing concerns about the spread of Covid-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus first observed in Wuhan, China — in South Korea, President Moon Jae-in has raised the country’s threat alert level to the highest of its four levels. The country is currently struggling to stop the rapid spread of the novel virus, and has the second largest number of confirmed cases in the world, 602 (not counting the passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked on the shores of Japan). In the span of less than a week, the number of confirmed South Korean cases has jumped more than tenfold, six people have died, and over 8,000 people considered to be at risk of infection are still undergoing testing.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
38 24-02-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Bernie Sanders Won Nevada Caucuses, Strengthening His Primary Lead. His triumph will provide a burst of momentum that may make it difficult for the still-fractured moderate wing of the Democratic Party to slow his march to the nomination. The Vermont senator defeated his opponents by a large margin, showing strength with minority and working-class voters. But the other candidates vowed to fight on.

(People and Personalities, World Politics)
39 24-02-2020 - Earthquake at Turkey-Iran border –Nine people, including three children, have died following a 5.7 magnitude earthquake that struck the Turkey-Iran border region. Twenty-one people were injured — including eight who were in a critical condition.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Geography)
40 24-02-2020 - Firms to be allowed direct foreign listing – In a move that could open up a fresh source of funding for domestic unicorns and new-age companies, an expert committee constituted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has endorsed direct listing of Indian firms on foreign exchanges. The panel has also proposed measures to encourage global companies to list in India. The existing legal framework doesn’t allow a company incorporated in India to directly list on foreign bourses. Similarly, companies incorporated outside India cannot directly list their equity shares on the Indian stock exchanges.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
41 22-02-2020 - Pakistan retained on ‘grey list’ of anti-terror financing watchdog–Pakistan has been retained on the ‘grey list’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for another four months, with a stern warning from the global watchdog that met in Paris (February 19-21) to complete the 27-point action plan it has been given by June 2020 or face being put on the ‘black list’.Pakistan was given a September 2019 deadline to complete the tasks that included shutting down all access to funding of United Nations Security Council-designated terrorist groups, including the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed and prosecuting their leadership for any access to finance, as well as tightening laws and banking security norms.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Terrorism, World Politics)
42 22-02-2020 - SC must ensure our security if road is opened: protesters–Shaheen Bagh protesters told the Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors that if the road parallel to the protest site was opened, the apex court should pass an order ensuring their security.The interlocutors called the police to the spot to discuss the matter with the protesters. The police admitted that the protesters hadn’t blocked the parallel road. An officer told the interlocutors and protesters that they had barricaded the parallel road as well as certain other roads adjoining the area as a security measure for the Shaheen Bagh protest site.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
43 22-02-2020 - Trump visit to India: mixed signals–Ahead of his first visit to India, US President Donald Trump gave mixed signals about prospects for a trade deal between the two countries, saying India had been hitting the US “very hard” with high tariffs for many years and he would “talk business” with Prime Minister NarendraModi to promote American products. Trump and First Lady Melania are scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi on February 24-25.

(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
44 22-02-2020 - US deal with Taliban hopes to end 18-yr war –A week long reduction in violence across Afghanistan, a major condition for the United States to formally sign its peace deal with the Taliban, was to go into effect. The measure, in which all sides are expected to end most attacks, is the first step in the roll out of a conditions-based peace deal that lays out a timeline for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. Officials hope the process will bring the Afghan government and Taliban together to then negotiate a political settlement that would end the insurgency.
(People and Personalities, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
45 22-02-2020 - PM to trustees: Build mandir without bitterness in society–PM Narendra Modi asked members of the Shri Ram Janma bhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust to ensure that the temple was built peacefully “without any bitterness” in society. “Work should be accomplished at the earliest without hurting anyone,” he told them during a brief interaction at his residence.The temple will be built in Lord Vishnu’s favourite octagonal shape and its structure will be made with stone without the use of iron.The 15-member trust will work independently without any government interference as the four Centre nominees including Nripendra Misra will not have voting rights.
(People and Personalities, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
46 22-02-2020 - Coronavirus on G20 agenda as China reports uptick in cases–China reported an uptick in new cases of coronavirus, boosted by more than 200 people testing positive for the disease in two prisons outside of Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.As international authorities tried to stop the outbreak in China from becoming a global pandemic, finance leaders from the Group of 20 major economies meeting in Saudi Arabia over the weekend were set to discuss risks to the global economy.China has had more than 75,400 cases of the coronavirus and 2,236 people have died of the disease it causes - known as COVID-19 - most in Hubei province and its capital of Wuhan where the virus emerged in a wildlife market in December.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
47 22-02-2020 - Netanyahu Announces New Homes in East Jerusalem, Days Before Election–Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to build thousands of housing units in contested East Jerusalem. Critics say this would be a blow to prospects for a settlement with the Palestinians. The housing is not likely actually to be built for years, if at all, but it is seen as an effort for Netanyahu to strengthen support among his base 11 days before the election.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
48 22-02-2020 - Iran parliamentary elections: Hardliners to dominate – Iran holding its parliamentary elections, and one thing seems all but certain: It will be a major victory for the country’s conservative hard-liners.This week will see 7,148 candidates vetted by Iran’s unelected religious and legal authorities compete for 290 seats across 31 provinces. But much of the country’s youth, particularly in the capital Tehran, plan to stay at home, foreshadowing what’s expected to be the lowest voter turnout in years.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
49 22-02-2020 - AGR dues: Government considering stress fund for distressed telcos–The government is considering the possibility of setting up a stress fund for the telecom sector that could lend to companies such as Vodafone Ideato help them meet AGR dues as part of a comprehensive relief package. Other measures being discussed include a deferment of licence fee and spectrum usage charge (SUC) payments. These points came up at recent meetings between top telco executives with government functionaries aimed at resolving the AGR payment crisis. With the Supreme Court ruling out any relief on the AGR issue so far, the focus has shifted to concessions on non-AGR issues.

(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
50 22-02-2020 - Gaming apps among top advertisers in India– One of the country’s top three advertisers in 2019 wasn’t a retail major or a consumer goods company as has been the trend over the years. It was, instead, a popular gaming app. Dream11, a fantasy sports player, broke into the top three of domestic advertisers in 2019, according to the latest Pitch Madison Adex report.
(Entertainment Games and Sports, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
51 21-02-2020 - COVID 19 updatesChina touted a big drop in new COVID-19 cases as proof its epidemic control efforts are working, but the toll grew abroad with deaths in Japan and South Korea. Fatalities in China hit 2,118 as 114 more people died, but the number of new cases declined to 394, a notable shift from the 1,749 figure released a day earlier. More than 74,000 people have been infected in China, and hundreds more in over 25 countries. The number of deaths outside mainland China climbed to 11. Iran reported two deaths, the first in West Asia.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
52 21-02-2020 - Unknown group to host 'Namaste Trump' event –In a new twist to the mega event Namaste Trump to be held at the newly built cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, a newly formed Donald Trump Nagarik Abhivadan Samiti (Citizen Felicitation Committee for Donald Trump) is the organiser of the event. Mysteriously, it is not known yet about persons who have formed the committee to felicitate U.S. President Donald Trump in a high-profile public event at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on February 24.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, World Politics)
53 21-02-2020 - Babri demolition accused hold key posts in Ram temple trust–Nritya Gopal Das and Champat Rai Bansal, chairman and general secretary of the trust set up to oversee construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, are both accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
(People and Personalities, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
54 21-02-2020 - Jamia violence6 students get notice as fresh videos emerge - A few more videos of the Jamia violence, which erupted on December 15, 2019 during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest, emerged on Thursday. The videos show protesters throwing stones from inside the campus.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
55 21-02-2020 - 2 Dalit youths brutalised in Raj, 7 held–Seven people were arrested in Rajasthan’s Nagaur after a set of six videos purportedly showing some of them brutally assaulting, and hurling casteist slurs at, two Dalit youths went viral. Cops handed over the case to a special probe unit set up in 2019 following the Pehlu Khan lynching case acquittals. The accused claimed to have caught the victims stealing Rs 50,000 from a motorbike servicing centre on February 16.

(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
56 21-02-2020 - Trump adviser Roger Stone sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in prison for lying in Russia probe –A federal judge sentenced President Donald Trump's long-time adviser Roger Stone to three years and four months in prison and said his lies to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election amounted to a threat to American democracy..

(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
57 21-02-2020 - Address terror threat from Pakistan, India tells U.N. chief–U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres should spend more time addressing the threat of terrorism that emanates from Pakistan, MEA official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday. Referring to Mr.Guterres’ comments in Pakistan, Mr. Kumar said terrorism was a more pressing issue as it violated human rights. “He made a few comments on Kashmir and on some other aspects of India and on NRC as well. Our position has not changed,” he said.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations)
58 21-02-2020 - Pak to stay on FATF grey list till June 2020– Pakistan will stay on the FATF ‘grey list’ until June 2020, after which it could slip into the ‘black list’. As the global body to fight terror financing wound up its plenary in Paris, Pakistan was told it could go into the black list if it failed to complete its 27-point action plan.Of particular concern to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is Pakistan’s failure to make significant progress in prosecuting and penalising terror financing.
(Social Issues, Terrorism, World Economy, World Politics)
59 21-02-2020 - French co to acquire 49% in GMR Airports for Rs.10,780cr–Both the existing and upcoming airports in Delhi-NCR will have a strong European connection following France’s Groupe ADP’s acquisition of a 49% stake in GMR Airports. While ADP is now linked to Delhi, Flughafen Zurich will be developing Greater Noida. Based on 2019 passenger statistics, the combined passengers handled by GMR Airports and Groupe ADP was 33.6 crore, the highest in the world. Last March, GMR Airports (GAL) had announced that a consortium of Tatas, GIC and SSG Capital Management would invest Rs 8,000 crore in GAL, valuing GMR Airports at almost Rs 22,500 crore. However, since Tata Group operates two airlines — Vistara and Air Asia India — other carriers had been opposing its entry into the airport business. (Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
60 21-02-2020 - DoT calculates telcos’ dues for each circle – In perhaps the first step towards invoking bank guarantees of defaulting mobile companies over the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter, the department of telecom (DoT) has started circlewise calculation of dues of operators towards various statutory payments. The bank guarantees — estimated to be over Rs 10,000 crore — are secured for two quarters and are primarily given in lieu of the spectrum usage charge and the licence fee that companies need to pay. Also, the government is understood to have sent a fresh recovery notice to companies, asking them to pay the amount according to the AGR order. Apart from Vodafone Idea and Airtel, those getting the notice also include the Tata Group, which has been asked to pay Rs 14,000 crore.

(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
61 20-02-2020 - Trump’s visit to India – India-US delink trade deal–An Indo-U.S. trade deal has been delayed but is not “stuck”, the government said, hours after President Donald Trump confirmed that negotiations will not be completed in time for his visit next week. However, expectations on trade would not overshadow the larger context of the visit, which will be a massive roadshow for Mr. Trump and his wife Melania from the Ahmedabad airport to Motera as well as a joint rally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the stadium (billed as the world’s biggest cricket stadium), the “key deliverable” of the visit.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
62 20-02-2020 - Voda Idea, Airtel seek more time to pay, bailout package–As they line up funds to pay the telecom department after the order of the Supreme Court on the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter, stressed telecom companies Vodafone Idea and Airtel are understood to have made a series of suggestions to the government to help them tide over the difficult times. Among them is a plan to give more time to the companies to make the AGR dues payment, while also giving them access to easier funding facilitated by the government so that payments can be made accordingly.

(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
63 20-02-2020 - Ram temple trust elects chairman–The Ram Janma bhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust, set up to oversee the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, held its first meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday, and elected Ram janma bhoomi Nyas’s Mahant Nritya Gopal Das as chairman and Champat Rai, described as a social activist and also associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, as general secretary.

(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
64 20-02-2020 - Court pulls up CBI in Asthana probe–A special court pulled up the CBI for not conducting a lie detector or psychological test on its former Special Director Rakesh Asthana in an alleged bribery case. The court, which earlier in the day asked the CBI to submit the case diary for examination, also enquired about the previous investigating officer, Ajay Kumar Bassi.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
65 20-02-2020 - Russia, Turkey spar over Syria operation–Turkey and Russia exchanged warnings on Wednesday after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened an “imminent” operation in Syria to end the regime’s brutal assault on the last rebel enclave.Syrian aid workers called urgently for a ceasefire and international help for nearly a million people fleeing the regime onslaught in the country’s northwestern Idlib province — the biggest wave of displaced civilians in the nine-year conflict.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
66 20-02-2020 - Won’t honour UN pledge on war probe: Mahinda –Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday said that his government will withdraw from co-sponsoring a UN Human Rights Council resolution on accountability for war crimes.His statement came days after the U.S. imposed travel restrictions on Army chief Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and his immediate family members over alleged gross violations of human rights during the final phase of the island nation’s Civil War in 2009..
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
67 20-02-2020 - COVID 19 updates - Shares surge as virus fears fade –Indian benchmarks snapped a four-day losing streak on Wednesday as a decline in new COVID-19 cases in China along with expectations of action by the Indian government to limit the impact of the outbreak revived investor interest in equities. The 30-share Sensex gained 428.62 points, or 1.05%, to close at 41,323. It closed just a tad lower than the day’s high of 41,357.16. The rally was visible in many side counters as well with more than 1,500 stocks gaining ground as against around 1,000 stocks that ended in the red. Within the Sensex pack, 22 stocks gained ground with Reliance Industries, HDFC, HDFC Bank, HUL, Bajaj Finance and ICICI Bank contributing the maximum to the day’s gains.About 500 passengers left the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship moored at Yokohama in Japan over coronavirus fears, at the end of a 14-day quarantine period that began on February 5. Six Indian passengers and 125 Indian crew members, however, were not among those who left the ship on the first day of the phased disembarkation. 
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
68 20-02-2020 - No solution on Day One of dialogue at Shaheen Bagh– The first attempt for a dialogue between the Shaheen Bagh protesters and two senior lawyers—appointed by the Supreme Court as interlocutors—resulted in an exchange of views. The protesters articulated their position, turning emotional at times, and the lawyers conveyed the SC’s concern and the need to find a solution. There was no breakthrough and the dialogue will continue on Thursday. Welcoming this initiative to “hear each one of them”, the women expressed a deep sense of disappointment at having been ignored by the authorities so far. They gave an emotional account of what they had experienced during their prolonged agitation against CAA and NRC. A huge crowd surrounded the stage from where senior lawyers Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran were speaking.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
69 20-02-2020 - Cabinet OKs bill to regulate Rs.3,000cr infertility industry –The Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill, 2020, proposing a legal framework and code of conduct to keep a check on in vitro fertilisation, embryo transfers and sperm banks - a set of infertility related industry that is mushrooming rapidly in the country. The bill proposes a fine of up to Rs. 10 lakh for anyone indulging in sale of embryo or trafficking at the first instance, and jail term of up to 12 years after that. It seeks to establish a national registry and registration authority which will be applicable to all medical professionals and clinics operating or providing services in the field of ART.

(Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
70 20-02-2020 - Desis to gain as UK eyes skilled with visa overhaul – Thousands more highly skilled Indians could potentially work in Britain as the country launches a new points-based immigration system starting next year. The new streamlined visa system, inspired by Australia’s points based immigration system, will take effect from January 1, 2021, and will replace the Tier 1 and Tier 2 schemes. The cap on the numbers of skilled workers is being scrapped and a small number of highly skilled workers will be allowed to enter without a job offer.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
71 19-02-2020 - Pakistan to remain in terror financing watchdog’s ‘Grey List’ - The International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommended that Pakistan be retained on the ‘Grey List’, given its failure to completely implement the 27-point action plan to check terror financing. The final decision would be announced at the end of the five-day FATF Plenary session in Paris.
(Regional Politics, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
72 19-02-2020 - Ghani named winner of Afghan election - Ashraf Ghani secured a second term as President of Afghanistan, but his rival Abdullah Abdullah immediately challenged the final election figures and said he was forming his own government. The results of the September 28, 2019 poll were released after lengthy delays following vote-rigging allegations by Mr. Abdullah that led to a recount.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
73 19-02-2020 - COVID-19 outbreak updates - The death toll from the COVID-19 outbreak rose again on Tuesday but Chinese and international health officials sought to calm global nerves, citing a study showing that most cases are mild and warning against excessive measures to contain the epidemic. Nearly 1,900 people have died and more than 72,000 others infected by the virus in China, with hundreds more cases in 25 countries.

(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
74 19-02-2020 - Food grain production set to touch a record high - Total food grain production is projected to scale an all-time high of almost 292 million tonnes in 2019-20 Which is more than six million tonnes higher than the 285.21 million tonnes produced in 2018-19, propelled by record production of both rice and wheat. Production of several crops, including rice and major pulses, was lower than targeted in the kharif or the monsoon season. However, the abundance of late monsoon rains resulted in cumulative rainfall that was 10% higher than the long-period average for the season
(Agriculture, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
75 19-02-2020 - Indian rupee down 22 paise against dollar in early trade - The rupee lost 22 paise to trade at a fresh nine-month low of 62.25 against the US dollar in early trade today at the Interbank Foreign Exchange due to rise in the greenback’s value against other currencies overseas. Dealers attributed the fall in rupee to dollar’s gains against the euro and yen overseas. However, a higher opening in the domestic stock market limited the fall of the domestic currency.

(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
76 19-02-2020 - Centre plans duty cuts, other steps to soften virus impact – The government is expected to announce a set of measures to tackle possible disruption in supply of drugs and other manufactured goods due to the coronavirus outbreak in China. The solutions may include a reduction in customs duty on some essential inputs, apart from speeding up port clearances. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman met industry players and instructed her team of officers to discuss the issues with ministries
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
77 19-02-2020 - Govt data shows sharp fall in job creation by its flagship schemes - Some of the flagship employment generation and placement schemes, such as the PM’s Employment Generation Programme and Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission, are expected to see a sharp decline in job creation during the current fiscal, according to data tabled in Parliament. The number of jobs generated under PMEGP plummeted from about 5.9 lakh in 2018-19 to about 2.6 lakh in 2019-20 (until December 31, 2019). The fall is less sharp compared to 2017-18 when the number of persons who benefited was 3.87 lakh. The numbers were 4 lakh for 2016-17 and 3.23 lakh for 2015-16.

(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
78 19-02-2020 - Hero Plans a Rs.10kcr Push for Alternative Mobility Solutions - Hero Moto Corp, which sells one of every two motorcycles in the Indian market, on Tuesday announced plans to make the biggest investment by a two wheeler company in India in a decade. Hero will spend Rs.10,000 crore on research and development of alternative mobility solutions in the next 5-7 years. The funds will also be used for setting up sustainable manufacturing facilities, network expansion and global brand building.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
79 19-02-2020 - Voda Idea Bank Guarantees Unlikely to be Invoked for Now - The government is unlikely to invoke Vodafone Idea’s bank guarantees for now, even as the officials of the telecom and finance ministries met Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba to discuss ways to ensure that the sector retains three private players.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
80 19-02-2020 - Israeli PM Netanyahu’s trial to begin on March 17 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial will start on March 17, two weeks after Israel holds its third national election in less than a year, the Justice Ministry said. Mr. Netanyahu, the first sitting Israeli Prime Minister to be charged with a crime, has denied any wrongdoing in the three corruption cases against him.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
81 18-02-2020 - SC appoints mediators to get Shaheen protesters off road –Disapproving the continuing blockade at Shaheen Bagh and expressing hope that good sense would prevail over anti-CAA agitators leading them to vacate the road and shift their protest to an alternative site, the Supreme Court asked senior advocates Sanjay Hegde, Sadhana Ramachandran and former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah to hold consultations with the agitators.Though a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph held organising protests is good for democracy and people have a fundamental right to dissent against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act even when the matter is pending in court, they disapproved the practice of blocking roads and public places during stir.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
82 18-02-2020 - UK MP vocal on J&K refused entry, India cites invalid –A British Labour MP, who has been highly critical of India’s decision to scrap J&K’s special status and who runs a British cross-party parliamentary group on Kashmir, was refused entry into the country. Debbie Abrahams, senior vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPGK), landed in New Delhi with her PIO parliamentary aide Harpreet Uppal, to be told her visa was not in order. She claimed she was granted an e-visa in October 2019 that was valid till October 2020, adding she had wanted to visit a bereaved relative before travelling to Pakistan for an official visit with the APPGK.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
83 18-02-2020 - Centre starts delimitation of assembly seats in UT of J&K –In a move that will pave the way for assembly elections in the Union Territory of J&K, the Centre has begun the process of fresh delimitation of assembly seats as well as readjustment of boundaries of parliamentary constituencies. The move comes more than six months after abrogation of Article 370 in J&K and three-and-a-half months since J&K was reorganised into the UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
(Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
84 18-02-2020 - 1951 proposed as cut-off year to define indigenous Assam people – A home ministry-appointed committee is learnt to have proposed 1951 as the cut-off year for determining indigenous people of Assam while also recommending introduction of Inner Line Permit (ILP) to control the influx of outsiders into the state. The committee — set up to suggest ways to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord that envisages constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people — has in its report, likely to be submitted to home minister Amit Shah soon, also suggested reservation of 67% of seats in the state assembly for indigenous people. The recommendations, if accepted, may help soothe frayed nerves in Assam over CAA, which the local population sees as contrary to provisions of the Assam Accord.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
85 18-02-2020 - Pak no longer a terror safe haven, claims PM –There are no “safe havens” for terror groups in Pakistan “right now”, PM Imran Khan said while admitting publicly that it was possibly not the case under previous regimes.Addressing an international meet marking 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in the country, he said instability in the war-torn neighbouring country was not in Pakistan’s interest. Khan’s assertion came as the FATF, the global anti-money laundering watchdog, began a crucial meeting in Paris where Pakistan is trying to wriggle out of being blacklisted for not doing enough to combat terror funding.
(People and Personalities, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
86 18-02-2020 - China’s Uighurs detained for growing beards, wearing veils –A newly revealed database exposes in extraordinary detail the main reasons for the detentions of Emer, his three sons, and hundreds of others in Karakax County: their religion and their family ties. The database obtained by AP profiles the internment of 311 individuals with relatives abroad and lists information on more than 2,000 of their relatives, neighbours and friends. Each entry includes the detainee’s name, address, national identity number, detention date and location, along with a detailed dossier on their family, religious and neighbourhood background, the reason for detention, and a decision on whether or not to release them. Issued within the past year, the documents do not indicate which government department compiled them or for whom..
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
87 18-02-2020 - SEBI split advisory and distribution –The regulator did not specify the upper limit of fees, a consultation paper floated by SEBI in January had proposed capping the fees at 2.5% of the assets under advice or a fixed fee of Rs.75,000 per year per family.Further, an Individual Investment Adviser will not be able to provide distribution services.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
88 18-02-2020 - Taliban fighters attacked Afghan government forces overnight, and militant commanders said on Monday insurgency operations would go-ahead until they receive fresh instructions based on a deal with the U.S. to reduce violence in the country.Last week, a senior U.S. administration official said negotiations with Taliban representatives in Qatar had resulted in an agreement in- principle for a week-long reduction of violence, but the seven-day period had not commenced. The official said the agreement covered all Afghan forces, and would be closely monitored.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
89 18-02-2020 - Gunmen killed twenty-four people, including a pastor, in an attack on a church during Sunday mass in north western Burkina Faso.It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, which comes as jihadist groups with links to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State seek to gain control over once peaceful rural Burkina Faso, fuelling ethnic and religious conflict.

(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
90 18-02-2020 - COVID 19 - Updates– More than 300 American cruise liner passengers, including 14 who were diagnosed with COVID-19, were flown home to military bases in the U.S., after two weeks under quarantine off Japan. The cruise ship Diamond Princess, with more than 400 cases, has become the biggest test so far of other countries’ ability to contain an outbreak that has killed 1,770 people in China and five elsewhere. Although U.S. officials said passengers with virus symptoms would not be taken, 14 passengers found at the last minute to have tested positive were permitted to board the planes. The U.S. State Department said they were kept in isolation on the flights. Across mainland China, officials said the total number of cases rose by 2,048 to 70,548. That was slightly more new cases than were reported on Sunday, but hundreds fewer than reported on Saturday..
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
91 17-02-2020 - PM Modi in Varanasi–Despite international pressure, the government will continue to stand by its decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted.In Varanasi, Mr. Modi launched projects worth Rs.1,250 crore. He unveiled the statue of Deendayal Upadhyay, which, at 63 feet, is the largest statue of the leader in the country, as per the government. The Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial Centre.Mr. Modi flagged off the third corporate train, Mahakaal Express, which links three Jyotirling pilgrim centres — Varanasi, Ujjain and Omkareshwar. (Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
92 17-02-2020 - PM Modi in Varanasi–Despite international pressure, the government will continue to stand by its decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted.In Varanasi, Mr. Modi launched projects worth Rs.1,250 crore. He unveiled the statue of Deendayal Upadhyay, which, at 63 feet, is the largest statue of the leader in the country, as per the government. The Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial Centre.Mr. Modi flagged off the third corporate train, Mahakaal Express, which links three Jyotirling pilgrim centres — Varanasi, Ujjain and Omkareshwar. (Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
93 17-02-2020 - India slams UN secy gen after he ‘offers’ to mediate on J&K –India used strong words to protest against UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, who offered to facilitate dialogue between India and Pakistan. Responding to the “offer” by the top UN diplomat, the MEA spokesperson said, “Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and will continue to be an integral part of India. The issue that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan. Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for thirdparty mediation.” (Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
94 17-02-2020 - Videos of police action inside Jamia library trigger fresh row –Two months after violence at Delhi’s Jamia university during an anti-CAA protest, a video clip showing police barging into a varsity library and beating up people there with sticks went viral, leading to an outrage and sharp political reactions. The leak of the CCTV footage was followed hours later by two other clips coming into public domain, one of which showed youths entering the same reading room—some with what appear to be stones in their hands—and trying the block the entrance of the hall. This clip appears to be of events preceding police’s entry into the reading room. Students from Jamia’s anti-CAA protest group, Joint Coordination Committee, said the footage confirmed their allegations of police brutality on campus. The university administration said the clips were not leaked from their end. (Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
95 17-02-2020 - India, US unlikely to seal mini-trade deal when Trump’s here–The possibility of a mini-trade agreement between India and the US during President Donald Trump’s visit to India later this month seems unlikely even as foreign minister S Jaishankar met US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to exchange notes and take stock of the bilateral relationship. (Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
96 17-02-2020 - IAF to get 83 Tejas fighters in Rs.39,000 crore deal –The biggest deal in the indigenous military aviation sector has been finalised, with the overall cost of IAF acquiring 83 single-engine Tejas fighters and their support package from defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) being slashed from the earlier around Rs 56,500 crore to Rs 39,000 crore. The over Rs 17,000 crore reduction in overall cost has come after hard-nosed negotiations spread over a year. The defence ministry and IAF were initially shocked at the “exorbitant price” being demanded by HAL to produce the 83 Tejas Mark-1A jets along with the maintenance and infrastructure package. (Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
97 17-02-2020 - Madhya Pradesh grapples with spiralling neonatal deaths –Madhya Pradesh has recorded the highest percentage of newborn deaths of 11.5% against the total admissions to government-run sick newborn care units (SNCUs) in the past three years across the country, a rate ominously spiralling since 2017, according to the National Health Mission (NHM). The country’s average is 7%.Although admissions of neonates (under 28 days) in the State have dropped from April 2017 to December 2019 — remaining lower than West Bengal, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — the percentage of deaths at 12.2% surpassed Bihar’s last year. (People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
98 17-02-2020 - India inks 14 MoUs with Russia for defence support, spares –In a step forward towards addressing the issue of regular spares and support for Russian military equipment with the armed forces, 14 MoUs were signed between Indian and Russian companies for setting up joint ventures covering a range of equipment from modern T-90 tanks to legacy Pechora air defence systems.The MoUs were signed during the 5th India Russia military industry conference held during the Defexpo 2020 in Lucknow. (Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, World Politics)
99 17-02-2020 - COVID-19 outbreak: updates– Coronavirus toll crosses 1600. Indian airlines to be hit, but will also gain from fall in oil prices.The number of new cases from China’s COVID-19 epidemic dropped for a third consecutive day, as the World Health Organisation chief warned it was “impossible” to predict how the outbreak would develop.More than 68,000 people have now been infected — but the number of new cases continued to decline. (People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
100 17-02-2020 - India to bring up Azhar issue at FATF –India plans to point out the incongruity of Pakistan’s claim that Jaish-e-Mohammad supremo Masood Azhar has been “missing”. Pakistan has claimed his disappearance in numerous Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meetings in the past year.The FATF plenary, which started in Paris, will take up the Pakistan dossier for discussion. Pakistan expects to get about 12 countries to speak in favour of getting it off the ‘grey list’. However, out of the 27 action points that Pakistan needs to take to get there, it still needs to move on 13. In the last review meeting in Beijing in January, Pakistan was judged to have taken satisfactory action on 14 action points. (Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
101 17-02-2020 - Four rockets strike near US embassy in Iraq; no injuries – At least four rockets hit near the sprawling US embassy in Baghdad and a Iraqi base hosting American troops inside the Green Zone early Sunday, but caused no casualties and only minor damage. The attack came just before 3.30 am local time, according to Col Myles B Caggins III, a spokesman for the US military operation in Iraq. He only said the rockets hit the base hosting US and other coalition forces. That base, known as Union III, is the headquarters for the US-led coalition, deployed in Iraq since 2014 to help local troops fight the Islamic State terror group. The Green Zone is the high-security enclave where the US mission and Union III, as well as Iraqi government buildings, United Nations offices and other embassies are located. (People and Personalities, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
102 15-02-2020 - DoT tells firms to pay Rs. 4 lakh crore by Feb 21 midnight–The Supreme Court ordered the managing directors and directors of companies, including telecom majors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for failing to pay even a “single penny” to the government in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues, worth Rs. 1.47 lakh crore, despite an October 2019 judgment. A three-judge Bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, called the non-compliance with the judgment a “very disturbing scenario”. It also drew contempt proceedings against a Department of Telecom (DoT) officer responsible for issuing an order to the Accountant General, a constitutional authority, on January 23, 2020, to desist from taking any coercive action against the defaulting companies.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
103 15-02-2020 - Justice Dharmadhikari of Bombay HC resigns –In an unprecedented move, Justice Satyaranjan C Dharmadhikari, the most senior judge after the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, told an advocate appearing before him that he had demitted his office.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
104 15-02-2020 - SC lifts Delhi-NCR construction ban –The Supreme Court lifted completely the ban on construction and demolition in Delhi-NCR after putting a stop on such activities for over three months. Revoking its ban of November 4 last year, a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta concluded that the ban has served its purpose and there has been a significant improvement in air quality.
(Constitution and Law, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
105 15-02-2020 - Peaceful CAA opposers not ‘traitors, anti-nationals’: HC –People wanting to agitate in a peaceful way “cannot be called traitors, anti-nationals only because they want to oppose one law”, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court said in an order on a petition challenging denial of police permission to an agitation against the CAA.The HC quashed two orders passed by the additional district magistrate (ADM) of Beed and the Majalgaon city police in Beed. Police had cited the ADM’s order as the basis for refusal of permission.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
106 15-02-2020 - SC junks convict’s challenge to rejection of mercy plea–A Supreme Court bench led by Justice R Banumathi expectedly junked Nirbhaya case death row convict Vinay Sharma’s challenge to rejection of his mercy plea by the President, but moments later the lead judge collapsed on her chair on the judges’ dais. Despite running a temperature, the bench headed by Justice Banumathi, also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna, assembled at 2 pm and she pronounced a 26-page verdict rejecting Vinay’s petition in a feeble voice.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
107 15-02-2020 - Attacks by Trump make work impossible: US Attorney-General –The US Attorney-General has accused President Trump of making his job "impossible" because of his constant tweeting.In a highly unusual public attack, Bill Barr said: "I have a problem with some of the tweets. I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
108 15-02-2020 - COVID-19 updates–A third Indian crew onboard a cruise ship off the Japanese coast has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Japan said.A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were on board the ship.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
109 15-02-2020 - PAN card not linked to Aadhar? It may become inoperative by March 31 – More than 17 crore PAN cards will become inoperative if not linked with the Aadhar by end of March. In a move with large scale disruption potential, the Income Tax Department has said that Permanent Account Number (PAN) will become inoperative if not linked with Aadhaar by March 31, 2020. It may be recalled that the deadline for linking of PAN and Aadhar has been extended several times and the latest deadline ends on 31 March, 2020. As per the latest figures, over 30.75 crore PANs have already been linked to Aadhaar. However, 17.58 crore PANs are yet to be linked with the 12-digit biometric ID.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
110 15-02-2020 - Shelling wounds at least 19 children in Myanmar’s Rakhine: authorities–At least 19 children were wounded when a primary school was hit by shelling in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, a lawmaker and a military spokesman said. Clashes between government troops and ethnic insurgents have intensified in Rakhine, from where tens of thousands of people have been displaced since clashes began in December 2018, bringing new chaos to the region from which more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled a military crackdown in 2017. The Arakan Army, which recruits from the mostly Buddhist majority, has been fighting for greater autonomy for the western region from the central government.. (People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
111 15-02-2020 - Coronavirus may hit 28% Indian imports– The country’s construction, auto, chemicals and pharma sectors are expected to be the worst affected due to COVID-19, which carries the risk of global supply chain disruption. Five import items that are heavily dependent on China -- electrical machinery, machinery and mechanical appliances, organic chemicals, plastics and optical & surgical instruments -- that make up about 28% of India’s import basket could be hit the most due to potential shutdown.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
112 14-02-2020 - Publish criminal history of candidates, SC orders parties –The Supreme Court ordered political parties to publish the entire criminal history of their candidates for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections along with the reasons that goaded them to field suspected criminals over decent people. The information should be published in a local and a national newspaper as well as the parties’ social media handles. It should mandatorily be published either within 48 hours of the selection of candidates or less than two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier. A Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, in the judgment, ordered political parties to submit compliance reports with the Election Commission of India within 72 hours or risk contempt of court action.

(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
113 14-02-2020 - Cloud over trade talks as U.S. official puts off trip–U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer has put off his trip to India this weekamid signs that the India-U.S. trade talks have hit a rough patch just ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit. No reason has been given for the change of plans in the USTR’s visit that was expected on Feb 20, but that there is still a considerable chance that he would visit as a part of Mr. Trump’s entourage to finalise a trade package or a “mini-trade deal” with his counterpart, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, on items that the two sides have been negotiating for more than two years now.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
114 14-02-2020 - Coronavirus Outbreak - Updates–The Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in deaths and thousands more infections using a broader case definition, while Japan became the third place outside mainland China to suffer a fatality. Japan confirmed its first death — a woman in her 80s— adding to two previous fatalities in Hong Kong and the Philippines. In Hubei province, in central China, officials said 242 people died on Feb 13, the biggest daily rise since the flu-like virus emerged in the provincial capital Wuhan in December. Total deaths in China are 1,367.The rise, following a forecast earlier this week by China’s senior medical adviser that the epidemic may end there by April, halted a global stocks rally. But it appeared in large part to be due to methodology.As a result, 14,840 new cases were reported in the province on Feb 13, from 2,015 new cases nationwide a day earlier. But excluding cases confirmed using the new method, the number of new cases rose by only 1,508.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
115 14-02-2020 - Normalcy almost back in J&K: Envoys–The 25 envoys who had been taken to J&K over the past couple of days returned with mixed reactions. While a few of the European envoys were less than satisfied, the majority of them appreciated the unprecedented access to different parts of J&K establishment and society over the past couple of days. The envoys were briefed on the prevailing security situation by Lt Gen K J S Dhillon, commander XV Corps, following which the group moved to Jammu. There they met Lieutenant governor G S Murmu, chief secretary B V R Subbu and senior members of the administration. Separately, they met a cross-section of civil society in Jammu as well as Justice Gita Mittal, Chief Justice of J&K HC, who is currently ruling on cases involving detentions.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
116 14-02-2020 - Hanging of Nirbhaya convicts entangled in procedural maze–Nearly three years after the Supreme Court sent the Nirbhaya case convicts to the gallows, the noose seems to have got entangled in a procedural maze with lawyers filing petition after petition in various courts since a Delhi trial court fixed January 22 as the date for the convicts’ hanging.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
117 14-02-2020 - US announces 7-day partial truce with Taliban –The United States has secured a seven-day partial truce with the Taliban, following talks to negotiate a path to peace in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said. The announcement was made as NATO defense ministers met in Brussels, and a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani touted "notable progress" in negotiations with the insurgent group.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
118 14-02-2020 - Harvard, Yale Investigated over foreign money–The U.S. Department of Education opened an investigation into Harvard and Yale Universities over their potential failure to “report hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign gifts and contracts.” Federal officials said in a press release that Yale “may have failed to report at least $375 million in foreign gifts and contracts, choosing not to report any gifts and contracts over the last four years.”
(Education, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
119 14-02-2020 - Nizam funds case: India finally gets share of £35m – The high commission of India in London has finally received millions of pounds that had been stuck in a British bank account due to a 70-year-old legal dispute over funds belonging to the Nizam of Hyderabad. The UK high commission has received its share of the £35 million (Rs 325 crore) stuck in a National Westminster bank account since September 20, 1948, that Pakistan had also laid a claim to. Last October, the high court ruled in favour of India and Mukarram Jah, the titular 8th Nizam of Hyderabad, and his younger brother, Muffakham Jah, in the case they had been fighting against Pakistan for six years in the London high court. The bank had already transferred the money to court.
(Constitution and Law, History, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
120 14-02-2020 - Better vegetable supplies to lower inflation: CEA–A day after retail inflation shot up to a near six year high, chief economic adviser (CEA) Krishna murthy Subramanian played down fears of inflationary pressures building up in the economy and said prices are expected to soften in the months ahead as onion supplies improve.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
121 14-02-2020 - Son-in-law of Infy’s Murthy named UK finance minister– British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s promotion of Rishi Sunak, sonin-law of Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy, to chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister) places Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) in two of Britain’s great offices of state, the other being Priti Patel who remains home secretary after Johnson’s first post-Brexit cabinet reshuffle. There are now a total of four PIOs in Johnson’s cabinet. Reading MP Alok Sharma (52) has been promoted to secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, and ex-barrister Suella Braverman (39) has been appointed attorney general, the government’s most senior law officer.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
122 13-02-2020 - AICTE bars new engg colleges for 2 yrs –The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has put the brakes on engineering education. No fresh applications for setting up new institutes will be accepted till 2022. In the 2019-20 admission season very other seat in this technical stream remain vacant. India is home to the second largest cohort of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates after China, but estimates show the country is the world’s capital in terms of engineering capacity. Put together, India has a total of 27 lakh seats, but only 13 lakh students took admissions in 2019-20, with seven lakh of them joining undergraduate programmes.
(Education, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
123 13-02-2020 - Only 1.5 crore pay tax: Modi –Stating that just 1.5 crore people pay taxes in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong appeal to citizens to take a pledge to pay their taxes honestly, keeping in mind the sacrifice of those who laid down their lives for the freedom of the nation.The PM said in the last five years, 1.5 crore cars were sold and more than 3 crore people travelled overseas for business or leisure, but only 1.5 crore people pay tax.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
124 13-02-2020 - Pak. jails Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed –Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people and injured hundreds more, has been sentenced to jail in Pakistan for five-and-a-half years on terror finance charges. Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist and head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), was found guilty of “being part of a banned terrorist outfit” and for “having illegal property” by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore. The ATC sentenced him and his close aide Zafar Iqbal to five-and-a-half years each and imposed a fine of Rs. 15,000 in each case. A total of 11 years sentence will run concurrently.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations)
125 13-02-2020 - Ambassadors reach Srinagar Twenty-five foreign Ambassadors reached Kashmir on a two-day visit to assess the situation after the Centre’s August 5 decision to revoke the erstwhile State’s special status. They sought inputs from locals, including select politicians, elected grass-roots representatives, editors, traders and members of the civil society, on the measures required to move ahead. Around 100 local delegates formed separate groups and met the envoys, including 10 from the European Union (EU). They were the same who met the Members of the European Parliament in October last and 17 foreign envoys in January this year.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
126 13-02-2020 - India, US finalise defence deals worth $3.5 bn –India has finalised two more mega defence deals with the US, together worth over $3.5 billion (Rs 25,000 crore) for 30 heavy-duty armed helicopters, in the run-up to President Donald Trump’s visit on February 24-25. These soon-to-beinked deals will take the total value of Indian defence contracts bagged by the US since 2007 to well past the $20 billion mark. The $2.6 billion deal for 24 MH-60 ‘Romeo’ multi-mission helicopters for the Navy and the $930 million one for six AH-64E Apache attack choppers for the Army are set to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) by next week.
(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
127 13-02-2020 - Coronavirus Outbreak - updates– Two Indian crew members are among the 39 more people who tested positive for coronavirus infection on the Diamond Princess, anchored at Yokohama over the past week. A Japan health official who had collected forms from those on board the ship also tested positive after he got off the ship.China reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in nearly two weeks, but toll hits 1,113.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
128 13-02-2020 - In a first, Calcutta HC allows live-streaming of proceedings –In a first, the Calcutta high court granted permission for live streaming of proceedings in a matter pertaining to whether the children of Parsi Zoroastrian women married to non-Parsis can be allowed access to Atash Adaran (Fire Temple) at 91, Metcalfe Street, Kolkata. Two special cameras and other equipment will be set up in the courtroom to telecast live footage of the proceedings on YouTube. The costs will be borne by the Parsi Zoroastrian Association Calcutta, an applicant in the matter.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
129 13-02-2020 - Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire primary – Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders narrowly won the New Hampshire vote, establishing his position as the candidate of choice of the progressive wing of the Democratic party. The vote was mostly split between Pete Buttigieg, who came a close second, followed by moderate Amy Klobuchar. Both former Vice-President Joseph R. Biden and progressive Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had a bad night. Mr. Sanders got 25.8% of the vote followed by Mr. Buttigieg, 38, at 24.4% with 89% of the vote counted.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
130 13-02-2020 - Retail Inflation Surges to Near 6-Year High–Factory output shrank in December after a mild pickup in November while retail inflation accelerated to a 68-month high in January in twin blows to the struggling economy. Data released by the statistics office showed industrial output contracted 0.3% in December compared with a 1.8% rise in November. April-November industrial growth was 0.5% against 4.7% in the year earlier period. The simultaneously released Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed retail inflation raced to 7.59% in January from 7.35% in December, strengthening the likelihood of a prolonged pause in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) despite muted growth.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
131 13-02-2020 - Maha cabinet approved five-day weekThe Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra cabinet approved a five-day week for all state government employees starting February 29. While earlier, the state government’s 22 lakh employees got the second and fourth Saturday of every month off, they will now only work Monday to Friday. However, their working hours have been extended by 45 minutes every day to make up for time that might have been lost as a result of the new arrangement. So while they started work at 9.45am every day and had to swipe out at 5.30pm, they will now have to work up to 6.15pm, with a 30-minute lunch break in the afternoon.

(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
132 12-02-2020 - AAP sweeps Delhi with 62 seats –ArvindKejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were voted back to power with a massive mandate in the Delhi Assembly election as the party won 62 seats in the 70-member House. The party dropped just five seats and less than a percentage point in vote share from its stellar 2015 showing. Despite a hard-fought and bitter campaign that saw big guns, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah address rallies, the BJP managed to win only eight seats, up five from its 2015 tally. The Congress, yet again, failed to open its account — the party’s candidates looked set to forfeit their deposits on 63 of the 66 seats contested.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
133 12-02-2020 - U.S. President Trump to come India on Feb 24, 25–U.S. President Donald Trump will visit India on Feb 24 and 25. He will visit with First Lady Melania Trump to New Delhi and Ahmedabad. The White House said Ahmedabad was chosen for the visit as Gujarat was home to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and played an “important role” in Mahatma Gandhi’s life.

(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
134 12-02-2020 - Nirbhaya Case Updates–The Supreme Court allowed the Union government to approach the trial court for issuance of a fresh date for the execution of the death sentence of the Nirbhaya gang rape convicts. Appearing before a three-judge Bench led by Justice R. Banumathi, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Nirbhaya convicts were trying the patience of the nation. Mr. Mehta made a chilling reference to how policemen who gunned down the four gang rape and murder accused in Hyderabad were cheered by people, calling the incident a symptom of people losing faith in the process of law.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
135 12-02-2020 - Muzaffarpur shelter case: 6 jailed for life–A Delhi court sentenced Brajesh Singh Thakur - who ran the children’s shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district where 44 girls were sexually exploited - and five others to imprisonment for the rest of their lives and slapped Thakur with a fine of over Rs. 32 lakh for committing sexual crimes.Additional sessions judge SaurabhKulshreshtha also sentenced five convicts in the case to life terms while handing 10-year terms to six others. Two more persons got relatively minor sentences. Thakur and 18 others, including nine women, were convicted on January 20 of committing or abetting sexual assault on 44 minor girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
136 12-02-2020 - FM cites ‘7 green shoots’ to defend handling of economy–Hitting back at former finance minister P Chidambaram for his ‘incompetent doctors’ comment, finance minister Nirmala Sitharman said she doesn’t want to learn from those who gave “faulty remedies” and under whom FDI literally ran away and “cronies” fled the country after defaulting on bank loans. Sitharaman defended handling of the economy citing “seven specific green shoots” in rising foreign direct investment, net foreign portfolio inflows, kicking off of Rs 103 lakh crore infrastructure pipeline, jump in foreign exchange reserves, GST collection topping Rs 1 lakh crore in current fiscal, rebound in industrial production and surge in stock markets.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
137 12-02-2020 - Coronavirus Outbreak - updates–Around the world, there are now 45,182 cases and 1,1115 deaths.World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a global threat potentially worse than terrorism.WHO renamed the virus as ‘Covid-19’. “co” for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”.

(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
138 12-02-2020 - Hafiz Saeed’s plea accepted by Pak court –An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan accepted a plea by Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa chief (JuD) Hafiz Saeed to club all six terror financing cases against him and his aides, and announce the verdict on completion of the trial. The anti-terrorism court or ATC had indicted Saeed and others on December 11 in terror financing case in day-to-day hearings.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
139 12-02-2020 - Jewish extremists vandalised Arab village – Dozens of cars in an Israeli Arab village were vandalised overnight with slogans sprayed on a mosque indicating the involvement of Jewish extremists. The slogans “Jews awaken” and “Stop assimilating” were scrawled on a mosque and another building in Jish, a small village in the Galilee just south of Israel’s border with Lebanon. Police said they were investigating the incident.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
140 12-02-2020 - Medical devices to be regulated as drugs–Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, clashed throughout the day in a combative display of their determination to treat the upcoming New Hampshire primary.
(Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
141 12-02-2020 - Govt may have to infuse capital into LIC before IPO – All medical devices sold in the country  such as Medical devices and medical technology equipment used for “diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, investigations and for supporting or sustaining life” will be categorised as ‘drugs’, under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940, from April this year. At present, over 30 devices including syringes, cardiac stents and orthopaedic implants are classified as drugs (under Medical Device Rules), leaving a whole host of med technology companies “largely unregulated”. The development is expected to bring in important changes for the sector over the next few years — one, their prices will be governed, and second, in case of a violation, they could be penalised in a court.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
142 11-02-2020 - Supreme Court upholds changes to SC/ST atrocities law –The Supreme Court upheld a 2018 amendment which barred persons accused of committing atrocities against those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes from getting anticipatory bail. But two of the judges on the Bench, Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran, held in their joint opinion that a High Court would also have an “inherent power” to grant anticipatory bail in cases in which prima facie an offence under the anti-atrocities law is not made out. The two judges held that a High Court, in “exceptional cases”, could quash cases to prevent the misuse of the anti-atrocities law. The third judge on the Bench, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, in his separate opinion, however, added a caveat  and stressed that the courts should take care to use this power to grant anticipatory bail “only sparingly and in very exceptional cases”.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
143 11-02-2020 - Nine-judge SC Bench frames 7 questions on religious rightsA nine-judge Constitution Bench of the SC upheld the decision of the five-judge Sabarimala Review Bench to refer to a larger Bench questions on the ambit and scope of religious freedom practised by multiple faiths across the country. Arguments on merits would be heard from February 17.The Bench also framed seven questions of law which it would decide now. These are: what is the scope and ambit of religious freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution? What is the interplay between religious freedom and rights of religious denominations under Article 26 of the Constitution? Whether religious denominations are subject to fundamental rights? What is the definition of ‘morality’ used in Articles 25 and 26? What is the ambit and scope of judicial review of Article 25? What is the meaning of the phrase “sections of Hindus” under Article 25 (2)(b)? Whether a person not belonging to a religious group can question the practices, beliefs of that group in a PIL petition?
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
144 11-02-2020 - Can protesters block a road indefinitely: SC on Shaheen–The Supreme Court took a critical view of protests blocking public spaces and sought responses from the Centre and the Delhi Police on a petition seeking removal of agitators from ShaheenBagh. The plea said lakhs of commuters were being harassed daily due to blockage of the main road connecting Noida-Delhi-Faridabad for almost two months. Entertaining petitioner Amit Sahni’s appeal against the Delhi high court order dismissing his plea, a bench of Justices Sanjay KishanKaul and K M Joseph said, “The protests have been on for a long time. There cannot be an indefinite period of protest in a common area. It could be done at an area identified for protests. Can someone block the public road?” When the petitioner sought interim relief, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on February 17.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
145 11-02-2020 - In relief to poor, govt plugs Ayushman gap –Bringing relief to hundreds of poor patients, the health ministry has finally decided to allow Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries to be given financial assistance up to Rs 15 lakh under the Rashtriya Aarogya Nidhi (RAN), a scheme meant for below poverty line families, if their treatment is not covered under Ayushman Bharat’s approved list of packages. On January 31, the ministry issued a memorandum stating that “if as per medical advice the suggested treatment is not covered under any of the approved list of packages of ABPMJAY”, financial assistance up to Rs 15 lakh could be provided for treatment at government super speciality hospitals. Poor patients suffering from end stage renal disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, aplastic anaemia and cancers needing transplant stand to benefit from this decision.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
146 11-02-2020 - US OKs sale of $1.86bn air defence system to India –India has got one step closer to deploying a new missile shield over New Delhi, with the US state department notifying its Congress of the impending sale of an integrated air defence system (IADWS) sale to New Delhi for $1.86 billion. India and the US have already held several rounds of negotiations, including selection of sites for deployment of the missile batteries around Delhi, for the proposed sale under the US’ foreign military sales (FMS) programme.
(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
147 11-02-2020 - Parasite’ Makes History at the Oscars–The South Korean film “Parasite” won best picture at the 92nd Academy Awards, becoming the first ever non-English-language film to seize the top honor. The historic victory marked the fourth win of the night for the film, which mined suspense, humor and anguish in its tale rooted in the socioeconomic divide between two families.

(Art Culture Literature, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
148 11-02-2020 - Coronavirus Updates: A Grim Landmark as Official Death Toll in China Tops 1,000 –Chinese President Xi Jinping has appeared among the public for the first time since the coronavirus epidemic started, and said the government would prevent large-scale layoffs amid the outbreak, Chinese state television reported. The Chinese leader has largely kept out of the spotlight during the outbreak, while Premier Li Keqiang, who has visited Wuhan city where the epidemic started, has taken the lead in government efforts to end the crisis. 97 people die in a day in China because of virus outbreak.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
149 11-02-2020 - Taiwan scrambles jets as Chinese air force flies around island – Taiwan's air force scrambled armed fighters to intercept Chinese jets that flew around the island claimed by Beijing as its own, in a move denounced by Taiwan's Defence Ministry as a threat to regional peace and stability.China has been flying what it calls "island encirclement" drills since 2016 when Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen took office for the first time.
(Defence and Military, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
150 11-02-2020 - US Presidential elections –Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, clashed throughout the day in a combative display of their determination to treat the upcoming New Hampshire primary.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
151 11-02-2020 - States may not get GST compensation in full, says Finance Ministry – State governments are unlikely to get the full compensation promised for short fall in goods and services tax (GST) collection as the finance ministry says the amount will be given only through money collected from the cess imposed for this purpose. A key ministry official said states should agree to hike GST or cess rates in the Council meeting, the date for which is yet to be fixed. Earlier, the impression was that whatever losses states bore would be fully compensated to them for five years from the date of GST rollout.

(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
152 10-02-2020 - Invest in Jammu and Kashmir–The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration is highlighting good quality air and low crime rate in the newly created Union Territory to attract investors. As per the J&K Information Technology (IT) Policy 2020, the administration is offering an incentive to IT companies to operate in three-shifts and to facilitate women working during the night by providing transportation and security. At least 15% of “plug and play” premises in designated IT parks will be reserved for women entrepreneurs, the policy says. The policy document says that J&K contributes only 0.1% of the total cognisable crimes under the Indian Penal Code.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
153 10-02-2020 - Jammu and Kashmir updates–Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah’s combination of “radical methodology” and “capacity to influence people”, reflected in his ability to draw voters to polling booths in defiance of terrorist diktats, has been cited in a dossier issued by Srinagar DM Shahid Iqbal Choudhary as the reason for his detention being extended by three months under the Public Safety Act (PSA). The dossier on Mehbooba Mufti, the third ex-CM to be detained under that law after Farooq Abdullah and Omar, labels her a “daddy’s girl” who “glorified terrorists after death” and declared in a public rally that “tampering with Article 35A would be akin to lighting a powder keg”.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Terrorism)
154 10-02-2020 - Coronavirus outbreak - updates–The death toll from the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak in China rose to 811, as authorities geared up for millions of people returning to work after the extended Lunar New Year break.China’s National Health Commission recorded 89 deaths on Feb 8, pushing the total well above the 774 killed by SARS in 2002/2003. The confirmed coronavirus cases in China stood at 37,198.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
155 10-02-2020 - Endangered species’ list will be updated –Ten endangered species of migratory animals/ birds from across the globe, including three from India (Great Indian Bustard, Asian Elephant and Bengal Florican), will be included in a special global list for protection under the ‘Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species’ (CMS) — an international treaty to protect such species throughout their range countries. Different countries have submitted their proposals to a UN body which will decide on a range of issues affecting migratory species at a conference in Gandhinagar from February 15.

(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Geography)
156 10-02-2020 - New Delhi LA elections: more women voted–More women stepped out of their houses and voted in this election than ever before. This was revealed by the voter turnout data shared by the Election Commission. Not just that, the usual gap between male and female voters also narrowed to a record minimum of 0.07%. Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh said 62.62% men and 62.55% women cast their votes, while the total voting percentage was 62.59%. Though there was a dip in this year’s voter turnout compared with the record turnout of 67.1% in the 2015 assembly polls, in absolute terms the number of people who voted actually went up from 89.3 lakh to 92.5 lakh this time, an increase of 3.1 lakh or 3.5%.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
157 10-02-2020 - Vanishing-toilet scam in MP –More than 4.5 lakh Swachh loos have been flushed into oblivion in Madhya Pradesh, along with the Rs. 540 crore it took to build them. The toilets may never be found — though the administration has GPS tagged photographs of each of them — but the government aims to recover every paisa spent on them. It is a reminder of the toilet door scam unearthed in Guna district in 2017, where the iron doors of 42,000 toilets were built 10kg lighter, leading to siphoning of crores. The ‘vanishing’ toilets were supposed to have been built — at least on paper — between 2012 and October 2018. But they don’t exist. Officials believe that the photographs submitted as proof of Swachh toilet construction were actually clicked elsewhere, perhaps at the neighbours’ homes as proof of money spent.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
158 10-02-2020 - Rebeld Foods targets $1 bn valuationMumbai-based cloud kitchen startup Rebel Foods, which operates the Faasos brand, has raised $125 million in the ongoing Series D round from Coatue Management, Goldman Sachs, Indonesia’s Go-Jek, and others. Post investment, the company’s valuation is said to be $525 million, as per a Bloomberg report. It is now expanding its presence into Southeast Asia and the Middle East.  Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing major Go-Jek also infused $5 million (Rs 34.7 crore) in Faasos last month through its venture capital arm Go Ventures.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
159 10-02-2020 - Israel drawing up map for West Bank annexations: Netanyahu– “We are already at the height of the process of mapping the area that, according to the Trump plan, will become part of the state of Israel. It won’t take too long,” Netanyahu said at an election campaign rally in the Maale Adumim settlement. He said the area would include all Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley - territory Israel has kept under military occupation since its capture in the 1967 Middle East war but which Palestinians want in a future state.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Geography, World Politics)
160 10-02-2020 - Thailand gun shoot–Holding candles and writing condolences as monks chanted prayers, hundreds of Thais held an evening vigil Sunday for the 29 victims of an "unprecedented" mass shooting carried out by a soldier. Sharpshooters killed the gunman after a 17-hour ordeal, including a night of firefights and terrifying dashes for mall exits by shoppers trapped in the Terminal 21 mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat. The provincial governor told reporters that the total death toll - including the gunman - stood at 30.The dead include civilians, one of them a 13-year-old boy.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
161 10-02-2020 - India's fiscal gap one of the highest in emerging markets: Report – At around 7.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), the revenue-to-expenditure gap in India is one of the highest among major emerging markets. According to estimates by International Monetary Fund (IMF), total government expenditure was equivalent to around 27.1 per cent of GDP while total government revenue was around 19.6 per cent of GDP in the last calendar year. The revenue-to-expenditure gap in India is similar to that in Brazil but much higher compared to China, Russia and Indonesia.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
162 08-02-2020 - Nirbhaya Case: Need of law to hand culprits separately–The Supreme Court conveyed that it is in no hurry to hear the appeals filed by the Centre and the NCT of Delhi for permission to separately execute Nirbhaya convicts. A Bench, led by Justice R. Banumathi, remained impassive as Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta urged the court to issue a formal notice to the convicts on the appeals. The law officer intermittently asked the court to at least allow the government to serve the copies of the appeal papers to the convicts through the jail authorities.Mr. Mehta said the “nation is losing patience” seeing the convicts misuse the legal process to delay the execution of their death sentence. “A law needs to be laid down,” Mr. Mehta stressed.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
163 08-02-2020 - PM in north-east–Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised the youth in central India’s Maoist belt and in Jammu and Kashmir to emulate the Bodos and shun the path of violence. He also allayed fears that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act would bring illegal foreigners to Assam. This was his first visit to Assam since the protests against the citizenship law began.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
164 08-02-2020 - Corona virus outbreak - updates–The novel corona virus (nCoV) outbreak and its rapid spread to different countries has resulted in a close to 50% fall in travel demand to South-East Asia from India as well as in-bound visitors to Kerala. Countries like Japan, Malaysia and Singapore have recorded as much as 50% fall in demand from tourists in February this year as compared to the same period last year. Virus toll hit 636 among outrage over death of doctor who raised first alaram.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
165 08-02-2020 - Leopard population reduced –India’s leopard population may be only a tenth of what it was a little over a century ago, experiencing catastrophic declines due to human pressures. Given the threats the animal faces – conflicts with humans, poaching, habitat loss and availability of prey – a group of scientists with new insights on loss of leopard abundance say that an initiative similar to ‘Project Tiger’ is required for the cat. The leopard population, perceived to be stable due to broad geographic distribution, suffered a possibly human-induced population decline of 75% to 90% between 120 and 200 years ago, the scientists propose, in a paper titled, ‘Genetic analyses reveal population structure and recent decline in leopards (Pantherapardusfusca) across the Indian subcontinent’ published in the journal PeerJ – Life and Environment.

(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
166 08-02-2020 - Top hospitals budgets slashed–Almost all hospitals funded by the Centre — including the AIIMS, Delhi, JIPMER, Pondicherry and PGI, Chandigarh — had their outlays slashed in the 2020-21 Budget or were given an increase that is not even enough to cover inflation. Since none of these hospitals, which treat lakhs of patients free each year, can cut corners on fixed costs like salaries of employees, public health activists fear they will have to either cut down services or start charging patients, either way impacting the poorest patients.Most of these centrally funded hospitals have shown more than 100% utilization of funds originally allocated for current year, as is evident from a comparison of the budget estimates for 2019-20 and the revised estimates, a reassessment of what will actually be spent by the end of the year.
(Indian Economy, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
167 08-02-2020 - Cong MP Trigger Chaos in LS –The Lok Sabha witnessed a showdown between members of the ruling BJP and Opposition Congress after health minister Harsh Vardhan and Congress MP Manikam Tagore indulged in unprecedented acts, resulting in two forced adjournments of the House. The incident happened during Question Hour, after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asked his listed question about the need for medical colleges in Wayanad. Vardhan, who represents one of the Lok Sabha constituencies of poll-bound Delhi, departed from rules and chose to give the proceedings an unexpected turn by reading out from a piece of paper.
(Education, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
168 08-02-2020 - Public hanging of child abusers in Pak –Pakistan's Parliament passed a resolution demanding public hanging of those convicted of sexually abusing and murdering children amid increasing incidents of crime against them. The resolution, which referred to the brutal killing and sexual assault of an eight-year-old girl in Nowshera area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in 2018, was passed with majority votes as it was supported by all lawmakers except those belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of former premier Benazir Bhutto. Former premier and PPP leader Raja Pervez Ashraf said that pubic hanging was a violation of UN rules and punishment cannot mitigate crimes.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
169 08-02-2020 - Trump confirms al-Qaeda’s Yemen leader killed – An American operation killed al-Qaeda’s top leader in Yemen last week, President Donald Trump confirmed. Qasim al-Raymi had been targeted in a botched US Navy SEAL raid in 2017, just days after Trump took office, that led to the death of the first American service member in combat under the new administration. Recently, the top lieutenant to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had taken credit for the shooting at a US naval air base in Florida that killed two American service members.

(People and Personalities, World Politics)
170 08-02-2020 - US Presidential Elections –Democratic presidential hopefuls arrived in New Hampshire for a week long primary sprint made more urgent by the vote-counting chaos that left the Iowa caucus results a muddle. The lack of verified, complete results from the Iowa Democratic Party deprived candidates who had a strong showing — notably Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind.— of a moment to bask in victory. The confusion avoided, or at least postponed, a moment of reckoning for those who may not have fared so well, like former Vice President Joe Biden.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
171 08-02-2020 - Pay gap between Women and Men– Women executive directors (EDs) earned 45% less than their male counter parts in the last fiscal year as male CEOs and CXOs took home bigger salary increments. Salaries of women EDs remained near stagnant, data revealed. An analysis of Prime Database numbers showed the gender pay gap between male and female directors doubled in FY19 from what it was a year ago as the average salary of male EDs rose 8% while it fell marginally (-0.12%) for women. The findings are based on the latest annual reports of 1,747 companies listed on the NSE and compiled by nseinfobase.com, run by Prime Database.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
172 07-02-2020 - Omar, Mehbooba booked under Public Safety Act –The Jammu and Kashmir administration slapped the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah. A National Conference leader also confirmed that Mr. Abdullah was formally served the PSA order. By virtue of these PSA notices, the detention of PDP leader Ms. Mufti and NC leader Mr. Abdullah is extended by three months, and could be extended further, first up to six months and then one year without trial.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
173 07-02-2020 - Delhi Assembly poll campaign concludes –A election campaign that kicked off with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking voters for a second term based on his government’s performance ended with him calling BJP leaders “fake Hindus” for running an “abusive” campaign. The tenor of the campaign changed drastically in the past two weeks with political parties warring over who can be called a true patriot. The BJP deployed U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Anurag Thakur and West Delhi MP Parvesh Sahib Singh among others to assist Home Minister Amit Shah, who was leading the party’s campaign in the absence of a chief ministerial face.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
174 07-02-2020 - Corona virus outbreak - updates–In a major breakthrough for global preclinical response to the novel corona virus (nCoV) outbreak, a team led by an overseas citizen of India has grown the first batch of the virus outside China in sufficient stocks to cater to forthcoming studies in the high security lab of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia. While researchers at Australia’s Doherty Institute had last week managed to isolate the virus from a human sample, the growth of the virus at CSIRO assumes importance given that it has the mega scale needed to conduct pre clinical studies.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
175 07-02-2020 - Monetary Policy Review –Loans for housing, auto and small businesses are likely to get cheaper even without the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy committee reducing interest rates. RBI governor Shaktikanta Das took some unconventional steps to bring down borrowing costs. In his last monetary policy for the current fiscal, Das said RBI would provide cheap long-term financing to banks for up to Rs 1 lakh crore through long-term (one-year to three-year) repos. He also said cash reserve requirements would be waived on deposits that are used to provide retail loans between January 21, 2020 and July 31, 2020. This will make housing, auto and SME loans cheaper as 4% of deposits impounded in cash reserves will be freed.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
176 07-02-2020 - OIC foreign ministers’ meeting SA reluctant –Saudi Arabia is reluctant to accept Pakistan’s request to immediately convene a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir, a Pakistani daily newspaper, Dawn, reported. Amid Islamabad’s growing unease over failing to garner support for OIC’s CFM meeting, Pakistan PM Imran Khan had voiced frustration over the silence of the 57-member bloc of Muslim countries on Kashmir while speaking at a think tank during his recent visit to Malaysia.Pakistan has been pushing for an OIC foreign ministers’ meeting since India revoked the special status of Kashmir in August last year.

(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
177 07-02-2020 - Right to internet not fundamental, says govt –Union law and communication minister Ravi Shankar Prasad justified snapping of internet services for maintaining law and order and national security while saying that the right to internet is not fundamental. The minister said the right to expression is subject to reasonable restrictions as provided in the Constitution.Responding to a question on if internet is a fundamental right based on a recent Supreme Court observation, Prasad said there is a misconception that needs to be cleared. He said that the decision to stop internet services is taken by local authorities considering the law and order situation.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
178 07-02-2020 - Malala shooter claims to have escaped Pak prison –Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former Pakistan Taliban spokesman who was responsible for the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in 2012 and carrying out the deadly Peshawar Army school terror attack in 2014, has escaped from prison, according to a audio clip released by him. In the audio clip, which surfaced on social media, Ehsan said that he escaped the confinement of Pakistani security agencies on January 11, claiming Pakistani forces failed to keep their promises made to him.

(People and Personalities, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
179 07-02-2020 - Nepal Census Will Add 3rd Gender – Nepal will count a third gender in its next population census, for the first time counting LGBT people as a minority group that can be allocated government jobs and education. The LGBT community in the Himalayan nation has long demanded the census taken every 10 years count sexual minorities. Nepal's laws prescribe special quotas for minorities in workplaces, schools and colleges, and access to discounted healthcare, but LGBT people say the absence of census data omits them from such programs.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
180 07-02-2020 - NIRMA and Emami Cement merger –Nuvoco Vistas Corporation Limited (Nuvoco), part of the Ahmedabad-based Nirma Group, has signed a binding agreement with the Emami Group to buy 100% equity stake in Emami Cement Limited (ECL) for an enterprise value of Rs. 5,500 crore. Emami Cement Ltd. operates one integrated cement plant in Risda, Chhattisgarh and grinding units in Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha with a total installed capacity of 8.3 million tonnes per annum. The company has mining leases in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. With this acquisition and ongoing expansion, Nuvoco will become one of the leading cement players in the country and specifically in the East.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
181 07-02-2020 - Kirk Douglas passed away– Kirk Douglas, one of the last surviving movie stars from Hollywood’s golden age, whose rugged good looks and muscular intensity made him a commanding presence in celebrated films like “Lust for Life”, “Spartacus” and “Paths of Glory”, died at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 103. In the 1950s and 1960s, Douglas was as big a star as there was — a member of a pantheon of leading men, among them Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.
(Entertainment Games and Sports, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
182 06-02-2020 - Trust formed for Ram temple construction–Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the Lok Sabha that the Cabinet had approved a scheme for the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya by setting up an autonomous trust, the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, to take forward the process as per the Supreme Court’s orders. The Supreme Court mandated three-month deadline to set up a trust was to end on February 9, a day after Delhi votes. The Union Home Ministry notified the Trust and Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that there would be 15 trustees, out of which one would always be from the Dalit society.The Uttar Pradesh government had approved the Supreme Court’s direction to grant 5 acres to the Sunni Central Wakf Board. The Trust will be headed by former Attorney General and Supreme Court lawyer K. Parasaran.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Religion, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
183 06-02-2020 - Nirbhaya Case: Government appealed to the SC –The Centre appealed to the Supreme Court with in hours of the Delhi High Court’s rejection of its plea to separately execute the death sentence of the Nirbhaya gang-rape convicts. The Centre had challenged a January 31, 2020 decision of the sessions court to postpone the issuance of fresh death warrants against the four convicts, especially Mukesh Kumar Singh, whose mercy petition had already been declined by the President on January 17.The government has argued in the Supreme Court that under the Delhi Prison Rules of 2018 the pendency of legal remedies or mercy petitions of other co-convicts would have no bearing on the fate of a convict whose plea for mercy has already been rejected.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
184 06-02-2020 - Women in Indian Army–A day after the Centre’s assertion on physiological limitations of women officers and changed battlefield scenario as reasons for not granting them command posts in the Army, the Supreme Court told the government that there are many non-combat services like NCC and Sainik Schools in which they could be accommodated. Responding to the various grounds raised by the Centre for convincing the court that women officers are not fit for command posts, a bench of Justices D Y Chandra chud and Ajay Rastogi said battlefield and combat operation is a very small portion of Army services and even if it is assumed that women are less fit for combat roles, there are other areas within Army where women officers could be accommodated.
(Constitution and Law, Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
185 06-02-2020 - MP becomes sixth state to pass resolution against CAA –The Kamal Nath-led cabinet in Madhya Pradesh passed a resolution against Citizenship Amendment Act, becoming the sixth state and fourth Congress-ruled government to do so. The resolution will now be forwarded to the Narendra Modi-led Union government.Secularism is a fundamental percept of the Constitution, and it cannot be changed, the resolution says.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
186 06-02-2020 - PM pitches for boost to defence exports–India became the world’s largest arms importer as it did not utilise its capacities to full potential after Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated and asserted that India was looking to achieve defence exports worth Rs. 35,000 crore in the next five years.In the last two years, defence exports worth Rs 17,000 crore has been achieved; it is up from Rs.2,000 crore in 2014.
(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
187 06-02-2020 - Bill to resolve tax dispute tabled in Lok Sabha –Four days after announcing a scheme to resolve pending direct tax cases, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced 'Vivaad se Vishwas' (No dispute but trust) Bill in Lok Sabha. The bill seeks to provide resolution for disputed tax cases involving Rs 9.32 lakh crore. Introducing the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020, the minister said this bill aimed to resolve disputed tax and related matters and emphasised on trust building. The minister said the bill would not be an open-ended scheme and can be availed for a limited time. It sought to provide a formula-based solution without any discrimination, she said. The proposed bill will come into force on the date it receives the assent of the President.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
188 06-02-2020 - Corona virus update –The death toll from corona virus has passed 550, a baby had been diagnosed with the virus just 30 hours after birth, the youngest case recorded so far. The disease claimed 73 more victims, taking the number of casualties so far to 563. More than 28,000 people have now been infected globally, including the baby born in Wuhan, the center of the outbreak. The baby’s mother had tested positive for the virus before she gave birth.Two cruise ships quarantined in Asia.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
189 06-02-2020 - Impeachment Trial Updates: Senate Acquits Trump, Ending Historic Trial – The Senate acquitted President Trump of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress, as Republicans turned back an election-year attempt by House Democrats to remove him from office for pressuring a foreign power to incriminate his political rivals. The tally for conviction fell far below the 67-vote threshold necessary for removal and neither article of impeachment garnered even a simple majority. The first article, abuse of power, was rejected 48 to 52, and the second, obstruction of Congress, was defeated 47 to 53. Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, was the only member to break with his party, voting to remove Mr. Trump from office.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
190 06-02-2020 - Cooperative banks to come under Reserve Bank purview–In the wake of the recent Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank crisis, the Union Cabinet approved amendments to the Banking Regulation Act to bring 1,540 cooperative banks under the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulation. Cooperative banks have 8.6 lakh account holders, with a total deposit of about Rs. 5 lakh crore.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
191 06-02-2020 - US Presidential Elections– As the Iowa Democratic Party began releasing partial results from caucuses that kicked off the primary race of the party, Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old Mayor from South bend, Indiana, led the candidates in state delegates, followed closely by progressive candidate Bernie Sanders. Former Vice-President Joseph R. Biden performed poorly as per polls prior to the caucuses. The Iowa race is crucial to winning the nomination as it provides candidates with momentum to carry them through to July, when the Democratic Party will chooses its presidential nominee.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
192 05-02-2020 - No document will be collected during updation of NPR - Govt–The government informed the Lok Sabha that till now it has not taken any decision to prepare National Register of Citizens (NRC) at the national level. Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai was responding to a question by Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) Chandan Singh and Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) Nama Nageswara Rao on whether the government had any plans to introduce the NRC all over the country. Government is in discussion with the States having concerns in regard to the preparation of National Population Register (NPR).Several Opposition-ruled States have vociferously opposed the NPR, slated to begin from April 1 onwards along with the decennial Census. According to the Citizenship Rules, 2003, the NPR is the first step towards the compilation of the NRC.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
193 05-02-2020 - SC asks why no action on pleas –The Supreme Court gave Tamil Nadu Speaker P. Dhanapal a week’s time to inform when he will take cognisance of the disqualification petitions filed under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) against Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and 10 other AIADMK MLAs for voting against the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami in February 2017. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, asked Tamil Nadu Advocate General Vijay Narayan and Additional Advocate General Jayanth Muthuraj to confer with the Speaker and report back on February 14. The court questioned the Speaker’s inaction, repeatedly asking why he kept the disqualification petitions pending for three whole years without even issuing notice.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
194 05-02-2020 - Two under observation for nCoV flee to S. Arabia –Two persons who had returned from China recently and were under observation for novel corona virus (nCoV) infection in Kozhikode, Kerala, have left the country for Saudi Arabia, violating the State Health Department’s instructions to remain under home quarantine till the end of the 28-day incubation period of the virus. District Medical Officer V. Jayasree said efforts were being made to trace the two persons.

(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
195 05-02-2020 - Govt to SC: Male troops won’t accept women commanders –The Centre has told the Supreme Court that women may not be suitable for command posts in the Army as male troops are not yet prepared to accept women officers. It also cited greater family demands and the danger of them being taken prisoner of war to oppose the plea of a few women officers for command posting after getting permanent commission. Male and female officers cannot be treated on a par in the matter of postings because of their different physical standards and exposures, and reservations over exposing women officers to combat situations.

(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
196 05-02-2020 - Interference of government in Collegium–In an unprecedented instance in the more than two-decade-long existence of the collegium system, the Centre appears to have blocked the appointment of Karnataka judicial officer P. K. Bhat as a high court judge despite the CJI-led panel iterating its recommendation a record third time in three years. Bhat’s name was first recommended by the Supreme Court collegium on August 23, 2016. But the law ministry returned it, enclosing a May 3, 2016, complaint by a woman judicial officer levelling sexual harassment charges against Bhat. She alleged that on complaining against denial of orderly allowance, Bhat would summon her to his residence at night and often made her wait till the early hours with a “dishonourable intention”.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
197 05-02-2020 - Tally-by-App experiment of Iowa Fails –Glitches to a mobile app and a backup phone-in plan for reporting results in Iowa’s Democratic presidential caucuses delayed the outcome and heightened concerns about the integrity of the voting process in the 2020 elections. After failure some Democratic Party officials in the 1,700-plus caucus sites complained about the roll out and difficulties in downloading and using the app. Some said a final version was only made available this past weekend. Still, others said that when they tried to phone results to party leaders, they were put on hold or disconnected. The faulty kickoff led Democratic candidates to express frustration. Nevada’s State Democratic Party, which holds its caucuses later this month, announced that it wouldn’t use the app that malfunctioned in Iowa.
(Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
198 05-02-2020 - Corona virus death in Hong Kong; Second outside mainland China–Corona virus cases continue to surge in China while new infections are being reported around the world. Stock markets in China, reopening after the Lunar New Year holiday, recorded their sharpest falls in more than four years, reflecting increasing concern about the damage the outbreak is inflicting on the local economy. Death toll 400+ with 20,438 confirmed cases in China. 146 confirmed cases in 23 countries outside China.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
199 05-02-2020 - Pak to buy more Malaysian palm oil– Pakistan will buy more palm oil from Malaysia, aiming to help offset lost sales after top buyer India put curbs on Malaysian imports last month amid a diplomatic row. India imposed restrictions on refined palm oil imports and informally asked traders to stop buying from Malaysia, the world’s biggest producer of the edible oil. The move was in retaliation for Malaysia’s criticism of India’s new citizenship law and its policy on Jammu and Kashmir.
(Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
200 05-02-2020 - Markets roar back after Budget shock–A sharp drop in crude oil prices, coupled with a rally in global equities, propelled the domestic market, helping the benchmark indices close at levels seen before the Union Budget. The Sensex soared 917 points, or 2.30 per cent, to end at 40,790, while the Nifty50 index rose 272 points, or 2.32 per cent, to close at 11,980. Both the indices logged their biggest single-day gains since September. The Sensex had ended at 39,735 on Feb 01, following the worst sell-off in three years as investors dumped equities due to Budget disappointment.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
201 05-02-2020 - Bharti Airtel loss– Bharti Airtel INSE 0.45% reported a bigger-than-expected loss of Rs. 1,035 crore, but improvement in mobile average revenue per user (ARPU), highest-ever quarterly rise in 4G users, surge in data traffic and likely tariff hikes were among the key positives. Analysts poll had projected a loss of Rs. 638 crore.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
202 04-02-2020 - Religious practices protected or not?–Renowned jurist and senior advocate Fali Nariman has objected to the manner in which the Supreme Court turned a review of the Sabarimala case into an opportunity to set up a nine-judge Bench and examine whether certain essential religious practices of various faiths, including Islam and Zoroastrianism, should be constitutionally protected. The CJI observed orally that Mr. Nariman had a formidable point there. The Sabarimala case review by a five-judge Bench, led by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi, took a curious turn on November 14 last. The Bench sidestepped the task of reviewing the September 2018 judgment, which declared the prohibition on the entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple as discriminatory.Instead, the Bench referred seven questions, including whether essential religious practices should be afforded constitutional protection under Article 26 (freedom to manage religious affairs), to a larger Bench.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
203 04-02-2020 - Children falling in borewells, what are the measures taken : SC–The Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre and States on measures taken to prevent children from falling into abandoned or open borewells. A Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra issued notice on a petition filed by advocate G.S. Mani seeking the court to ask the governments at the State and Central levels to file a report on the action taken against errant officials whose neglect led to the tragic deaths of children trapped in borewells. Mr. Mani’s petition was filed in October last year in the wake of the death of two-year-old Sujith Wilson after he got trapped in an abandoned borewell in Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu. Mr. Mani said authorities remain negligent about safety measures concerning borewells despite Supreme Court directions in 2010.He annexed several news reports of borewell deaths in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra over the years.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
204 04-02-2020 - Membrane based water purification devices will be banned if water quality meets BIS standards –The Union Environment Ministry has published a draft notification that effectively prohibits users from installing membrane-based water purification, mainly reverse osmosis, systems in their homes if the water has been sourced from a supply that meets the Bureau of Indian Standards’ (BIS) drinking water norms. The proposed regulation is not the final word and the Ministry will await comments from the public for 30 days, after which it may incorporate the changes before it becomes a law. The Delhi Jal Board, among others, claims that the water it supplies meets BIS norms.The Water Quality Association of India, which represents companies that make RO systems, had moved the Supreme Court for a stay of the NGT’s order.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
205 04-02-2020 - NBWL permits road through Tiger reserve–After years of back and forth, work on the controversial Laldhang-Chillarkhal road may soon start as the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has given a go-ahead to the project. The road, proposed to minimise travel time between Garhwal and Kumaon, will cut through the reserve forest area of Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR), which has a healthy wildlife population. The 11.5-km-long road also includes a 4.5 km stretch from Chamaria Bend to Siggadi Sot — which is the sole wildlife corridor between Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) and RTR, which are the two premier sanctuaries of Uttarakhand.In June 2019, the project had been put on hold by the SC, which had directed the state government to first get clearance from National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and NBWL before commencing with the motor road project.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
206 04-02-2020 - Suicides in Indian Armed Forces –Over 1,110 soldiers, airmen and sailors ended their lives in the last decade, once again underlining the urgent need for much better suicide prevention interventions in the over 14-lakh strong Indian armed forces. The defence ministry says several measures have been taken over the years to reduce stress among military personnel, ranging from counselling, yoga and grievance redressal mechanisms to improvements in food, clothing, married accommodation and a liberalised leave policy. Latest figures show there were over 895 suicides in the over-12-lakh Army in the 2010-2019 time-frame, followed by 185 and 32 in the muchsmaller IAF and Navy, respectively.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
207 04-02-2020 - Corona virus outbreak HIGHLIGHTS –With three confirmed cases of corona virus in the state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan declared the outbreak as a state disaster. The third case of corona virus emerged from Kerala’s Kasaragod district, a day after a student tested positive. With a similar background as the first two cases, this patient is also a student from Wuhan and is currently admitted to an isolation ward at a hospital in Kanjangad in the district. As the Philippines reported a death due to Corona virus— first one outside mainland China— the death toll crossed 360. As the virus is spreading across the globe, it is likely to become a pandemic, according to world’s leading infectious disease experts.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
208 04-02-2020 - Turkey-Syria struggle–Turkish and Syrian troops traded fire in northwest Syria, with more than 20 reported dead, further raising tension between Ankara and regime ally Moscow over the war-torn Idlib region on Turkey's border. Russian air strikes also killed 14 civilians in the same area, as the World Health Organization warned dozens of medical facilities had been closed amid a fierce government offensive.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
209 04-02-2020 - 1917 won 73rd British Academy Film Awards– Gut-wrenching World War I epic 1917 was the big winner at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, winning seven prizes including best picture and best director.Sam Mendes’ drama about one of the most devastating conflicts in British history bested hotly tipped American contenders including Joker, The Irishman and Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood at a glitzy London event that was overshadowed by criticism of the nominees’ lack of diversity — even from some of the nominees themselves.
(Entertainment Games and Sports, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
210 04-02-2020 - Manufacturing PMI at 8-year high –The manufacturing sector which is blamed for dragging down economic growth in current fiscal year, rose to an eight year high in January, according to the widely-tracked purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey. The IHS Markit India Manufacturing PMI rose from 52.7 in Dec. 2019 to 55.3 in Jan 2020, its highest level in just under eight years.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
211 04-02-2020 - Tatas to bid Air India – The Tatas appear to be moving closer to a decision to bid for Air India in partnership with Singapore Airlines and have already started working of the structure for such acquisition – including a merger of Air Asia India, in which they hold 51% and Air India Express, a 100% subsidiary of the government-owned national carrier.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
212 03-02-2020 - Corona virus Update –India’s second case of the novel corona virus (nCoV) infection was confirmed in Alappuzha, Kerala, after a student, admitted to the isolation ward of the Government Medical College, tested positive.China ramped up measures to contain the corona virus epidemic and shore up an economy hit by travel curbs and business shut-downs as the first death from the illness was reported outside China.
(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
213 03-02-2020 - Jamia Milia Juvenile firing case–Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman put an end to fears that provisions introduced in the Budget would bring Indian workers’ income in zero tax jurisdictions, like the UAE, into the Indian tax net.The Finance Bill has proposed three major changes to prevent tax abuse by citizens who don’t pay taxes anywhere in the world — reducing the number of days that an Indian citizen can be granted non-resident status for tax purposes from 182 to 120; citizens who don’t pay taxes anywhere will be deemed to be a resident; and the definition of ‘not ordinarily resident’ has been tightened.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
214 03-02-2020 - EC removes Delhi DCP–The Election Commission removed Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East Delhi) Chinmoy Biswal after two incidents of firing took place at the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest sites in the district within three days.With the Delhi Assembly elections scheduled for February 8, the EC had reviewed preparations, including law and order, on January 31 and appointed a special police observer. The review, though routine, took place a day after a young man shot at anti-CAA protesters in Jamia. On February 1, another firing incident took place at Shaheen Bagh.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
215 04-02-2020 - Unidentified men open fire at JMITwo unidentified bike-borne men reportedly opened fire in the air near the anti-CAA protest site outside Jamia Millia Islamia. Shadosh, a volunteer with the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) who was at the site, said he heard loud shots between Gate No. 7 and Gate No. 5 and saw a red scooter leaving the site. Shail Khudaai, a member of the JCC, a group comprising students and alumni of the university, said two persons came on a two-wheeler on the road opposite the protest site, fired two rounds in the air and sped away.
(Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
216 03-02-2020 - Research under scanner–The report of a government inquiry into a study conducted in Nagaland by researchers from the U.S., China and India on bats and humans carrying antibodies to deadly viruses like Ebola was submitted to the Health Ministry.The study came under the scanner as two of the 12 researchers belonged to the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Department of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and it was funded by the U.S Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
(Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
217 03-02-2020 - Leader of VHM shot deadThe leader of the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Mahasabha was shot dead in Lucknow while he was out on a morning walk. Ranjeet Bachchan, 40, was shot in the head and his cousin Aditya Srivastava was injured in the attack by unidentified assailants, who also snatched their mobile phones, according to Joint Commissioner of Police Naveen Arora. (Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
218 03-02-2020 - US Presidential Elections–More than a handful of Democrats will compete with each other and indirectly against a highly controversial President Donald Trump, riding high on his imminent acquittal by the Senate, as the U.S. election season kicks off with the Iowa Caucuses.Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar who had been in Washington for Mr. Trump’s Senate trial dashed to Iowa for a hectic weekend of campaigning. Together with former Vice-President Joe Biden and former Southbend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the five candidates top the long list of Democratic hopefuls.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
219 03-02-2020 - Brexit: Canada style FTA with EU – Two days after Brexit, British officials pushed the European Union for a Canada-style free trade arrangement as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson geared up for a key speech to spell out his government’s negotiating stance. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News that Britain will seek a deal that imposes very few tariffs even though he said Britain will not seek to align its regulations with the EU.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
220 03-02-2020 - Trump impeachment–Republicans prepared to defend their expected acquittal of President Donald Trump, on TV talk shows, after their Senate votes to reject witness testimony at his impeachment trial sparked criticism they were aiding a cover-up and abdicating their duties. Criticism only intensified after U.S. media reported that U.S. officials cited presidential privilege in redacting 24 emails related to Mr. Trump’s hold on military assistance to Ukraine, an issue at the heart of his impeachment trial for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
221 03-02-2020 - Sandeep Mathrani appointed as We Work CEO – We Work has appointed real estate veteran Sandeep Mathrani as its new chief executive from February 18, replacing the two incumbent co-CEOs who have been running the show since the co-working company ran into rough weather in September after its botched initial public offering (IPO). Mathrani, an Indian-American, joins from US-based real estate management company Brookfield Properties, where he was the CEO of its retail division. He will be part of the board and report to executive chairman Marcelo Claure. He was also the CEO of General Growth Properties for eight years prior to his stint at Brookfield. General Growth Properties, one of the largest shopping mall operators in the US, was acquired by Brookfield in 2018.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
222 01-02-2020 - Economic Survey for Year 2019-20 released: estimates GDP growth rate between 6 to 6.5% for 2020-21 –The Economic Survey for 2019-20 expects GDP growth to revive from the 5% estimated for this year to a range between 6%-6.5% next year (2020-21). The Survey hints at going easy on fiscal deficit targets to shore up growth and makes a valiant attempt to evangelise wealth creation by entrepreneurs, instead of demonising them.It also calls for unravelling multiple regulations stifling Indian industry’s global competitiveness and urges policy makers to stop being “judgemental” about importing inputs, assembling them and re-exporting them, even if it means little value-added at home.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
223 01-02-2020 - Jamia Milia Juvenile firing case–The young man who fired at a Jamia Millia Islamia student during a protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was sent to 28-day protective custody in a correction home by the Juvenile Justice Board a day later. Purportedly 17 years old, a bone ossification test would be conducted to ascertain if he is indeed a little over two months of being an adult. Police said they have approached Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital to form a board of doctors for the test.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
224 01-02-2020 - Nirbhaya Case: Execution postponed –The execution of the death sentence awarded to all four convicts in the December 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case was postponed for the second time. Additional sessions judge Dharmender Rana directed that the execution be postponed till further orders after considering the pleas by three convicts — Pawan Gupta, 23, Akshay Kumar, 31, and Vinay Sharma, 24. On January 7, the court had ordered the execution of the death sentence on January 22. This was postponed to February 1.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
225 01-02-2020 - Apex court needs explanation from UP government over arbitrary action –The Supreme Court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to explain its notices to certain persons to cough up money for destruction of public property during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December last year. A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud issued formal notice to the State government on a petition filed by Uttar Pradesh resident Parwaiz Arif Titu, who said the notices for payment of damages were “arbitrarily” sent to people. They include a person, Bannu Khan, who died six years ago at the age of 94, to two others, Fasahat Mir Khan and Sufi Ansar Hussain, both in their 90s and bedridden.

(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
226 01-02-2020 - Coronavirus update: Evacuation of Indians from China begins –India started evacuation of its people from Wuhan (China) with a special Air India double decker Boeing 747 aircraft. The evacuation started even as World Health Organisation (WHO) declared novel coronavirus a global health emergency. The 423-seater flight is expected to return to Delhi from Wuhan (China) at 2 a.m. on Feb 1 and another special flight may depart from T3, Delhi on Feb 1. The death toll due to coronavirus rose to 213, with 1,982 new cases pushing up the coronavirus-stricken figure to 9,692.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
227 01-02-2020 - Trump impeachment: Trump likely to get free from charges –With a key Senator declaring that he would vote against new witnesses in the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump, the President is likely to be acquitted before the close of Friday’s Senate session. GOP Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said Mr. Trump’s relationship with Ukraine were inappropriate but not grounds for his removal.Mr. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives in December for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. A House Democrat-led inquiry had concluded that Mr. Trump withheld aid for Ukraine to put pressure on the government to launch investigations into former Vice-President Joseph Biden, and his son, Hunter.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
228 01-02-2020 - West Asia Peace Plan: Reactions–Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted several Arab countries for backing a West Asia peace plan unveiled by the United States, condemning it as treason. Mr. Erdogan, a strong advocate of Palestinian rights, singled out Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman. U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled the details of the long-awaited plan aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ambassadors of Oman, the UAE and Bahrain were at the White House event in Washington. The three countries do not recognise Israel as a legitimate state.

(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
229 01-02-2020 - Abidali Neemuchwala quits Wipro – Abidali Neemuchwala is exiting as CEO and MD of Wipro after a turbulent period during which the company saw its business growth slide and stock value move at a slow pace compared to those of its peers in the Indian tech services market. Wipro repeatedly under-performed and fell behind its rivals — Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Also, it lost its third position now and then to a highly aggressive HCL Technologies during Mr. Neemuchwala’s tenure, according to market watchers.

(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
230 01-02-2020 - Arvind Krishna appointed as next CEO of IBM –Indian-origin technology executive Arvind Krishna has been elected chief executive officer of American IT giant IBM, succeeding Virginia Rometty, who described him as ‘the right CEO for the next era at IBM and well-positioned’ to lead the company into the cloud and cognitive era. The IBM board of directors elected Mr. Krishna as company CEO and member of the board effective April 6. Mr. Krishna is currently IBM senior VP for Cloud and Cognitive Software and will succeed Ms. Rometty, 62 who will retire after almost 40 years with the company at the end of the year. Mr. Krishna, 57, had joined IBM in 1990 and has an undergraduate degree from IIT-Kanpur, and a Ph.D in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
231 01-02-2020 - Brexit is done, 1317 days after referendum – Britain will officially depart from the European Union 1,317 days after voting in favour of leaving the bloc in a referendum that plunged the country into a three-year-long debate. In a pre-recorded address to the nation that will be broadcast on social media and TV an hour before Britain leaves the EU, PM Boris Johnson said Brexit was a historic opportunity to unleash the country’s full potential. “Our job as the government — my job — is to bring this country together and take us forward. This is the dawn of a new era in which we no longer accept that your life chances should depend on which part of the country you grow up in. This is the moment when we begin to unite and level up.”
(Entertainment Games and Sports, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
232 31-01-2020 - Coronavirus Outbreak Updates–India reported its first positive case of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) from Kerala with a girl student, who was studying in Wuhan University and had travelled to India, testing positive for the virus. The government has announced that all persons who have come from China after January 15, will be tested for the virus as it has an incubation period of 14 days.India till date has screened 234 flights and 43,346 passengers. Worldwide we have a total of 7,711 confirmed cases and 170 deaths.Thrissur in Kerala has been put on high alert.
(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
233 31-01-2020 - Anti-CAA protest comes under attack–A Jamia Millia Islamia student was shot at and injured by a young man, who shouted “kiskochahiyeaazadi, maidoongaaazadi” (whoever wants freedom, I shall give freedom) before firing his handgun at an anti-CAA protest. The victim, who received a bullet injury in the arm and has been admitted to the AIIMS trauma centre for treatment, was identified as Shadab Farooq, a mass communication student. The shooter, whose identity and pictures brandishing a country-made handgun went viral on social media during the day, claimed he was a juvenile.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
234 31-01-2020 - Kalakshetra cancelled permission for event–Kalakshetra Foundation withdrew the permission it had given to hold the book release function for T.M. Krishna’s Sebastian & Sons: A Brief History of Mrdangam Makers on its premises. The Foundation’s Director, Revathi Ramachandran, said that the institution was an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Being a government organisation, it cannot allow any program that may instigate political, cultural and social disharmony. The decision was taken after a book review that had appeared contained certain statements related to the book that touched on controversial issues and had a lot of political overtones.
(Art Culture Literature, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
235 31-01-2020 - Apex court permits transport of minerals in Goa for 6 months–The Supreme Court clarified that its 2018 ban on mining operations in Goa does not bar private mining companies from transporting out whatever minerals they had extracted before the cut-off date of March 15, 2018. A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde gave the companies a six-month window to transport the minerals for which they had paid royalty.This litigation stems from a February 7, 2018 apex court judgment pronounced by a Bench led by Justice (now retired) Madan B. Lokur. It quashed all 88 mining leases renewed by the BJP government in Goa in 2015 to benefit private mining leaseholders.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
236 31-01-2020 - Plants violating ecological flow requirements–Over a year after the government made it mandatory for hydropower projects on the upper reaches of the river Ganga’s tributaries to release minimum quantities of water through the year, according to a report by Central Water Commission (CWC), 4 of the 11 projects are flouting norms. The ecological flow, or e-flow notification as it is called, specifies that the upper stretches of the Ganga — from its origins in the glaciers and until Haridwar — would have to maintain: 20% of the monthly average flow of the preceding 10-days between November and March, which is the dry season; 25% of the average during the ‘lean season’ of October, April and May; and 30% of monthly average during the monsoon months of June-September.

(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
237 31-01-2020 - UK will become the first nation ever to leave EU –Jan 31, 2020 will mark a truly historic moment, as UK will officially leave EU.Britain and the EU fought tooth and nail for the best part of four years — with insults flying across the English Channel — over the terms of their divorce. Now, on the eve of one of the most significant events in EU history, the political eruptions have ceased and an uneasy quiet reigns — the calm before the next storm.
(Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
238 31-01-2020 - Trump impeachment resumed –President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial resumed for a second day of questioning by U.S. Senators before they address the explosive issue of whether to call witnesses such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Without witnesses, Republicans, who control the Senate, say the trial could end as early as Friday with Mr. Trump’s acquittal, which would leave him in office and allow him to claim vindication just as the Democratic Party holds its first nominating contest for the November 3 election in Iowa. Mr. Trump will hold a rally in the State on Thursday night.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
239 31-01-2020 - Number of terror attacks dropped in Pakistan – Terror attacks in Pakistan plummeted by more than 85% over the past decade. It’s a welcome statistic for the country, but one that risks being overshadowed by international concern over its efforts to curb terror funding and lingering militant activity that could test any future peace agreement in neighbouring Afghanistan. The tally, put together by Pakistani think tanks, found terror attacks dropped from nearly 2,000 in 2009 to fewer than 250 in 2019, a steady decline that underscores the long-haul nature of fighting terror.
(Regional Politics, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
240 31-01-2020 - More time to Kotak to reduce promoter shareholding –The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted more time to Kotak Mahindra Bank to reduce promoter shareholding in the bank while capping promoter voting rights. At present, the promoter shareholding is 29.96%. The voting rights of the promoter will be capped at 15% from April 1, 2020 and the bank will get at least six months to reduce promoter stake to 26%. There is no compulsion for the bank to reduce promoter stake to 15%, as originally envisaged..
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
241 31-01-2020 - BS-VI costs: Oil cos to raise rates by Re. 1 at one go in April– State-run fuel retailers will raise fuel prices by 50 paise to Re 1 per litre in a go from April to recover investments made for producing Bharat Stage-VI (BSVI, akin to Euro-VI standard) petrol and diesel.Pump prices are linked to petrol and diesel rates in regional trasading hubs — Singapore and Dubai — as well as the rupee-dollar exchange rate. Since international benchmark prices for BS-VI equivalent fuels are higher, domestic rates will also have to rise.Crude prices are in the comfort zone and product prices are expected to face deflationary pressure as coronavirus casts a shadow over trade. India is set to leapfrog from BS-IV to BS-VI standard, which has nearly the same — or better in some regards — emission level as a CNG vehicle, from April 1.
(Indian Economy, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
242 30-01-2020 - Corona virus Outbreak Updates–The Union Health Ministry advised people to refrain from travelling to China in the wake of the corona virus outbreak, as the death toll there rose to 133 with nearly 1,500 new cases.The Government of India has sought the Chinese authorities’ permission to operate two flights to bring back Indians from Hubei Province. Meanwhile, two Indian carriers that fly to China — IndiGo and Air India — announced suspension of most of their flights to that country.The U.S. and Japan flew nationals out of Wuhan, the epicentre of the corona virus outbreak in China, as the number of deaths rose by 27 to 133.UAE reported first case of virus in West Asia. 6061 people infected now in China.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
243 30-01-2020 - Time limit on advance bail violates personal liberty: SC–The protection of anticipatory or pre-arrest bail cannot be limited to any time frame or “fixed period” as denial of bail amounts to deprivation of the fundamental right to personal liberty in a free and democratic country, a Constitution Bench consisting of five judges of the Supreme Court ruled. The bench was led by Justice Arun Mishra.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
244 30-01-2020 - CAA: MEPs began discussion –Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) began a discussion on a joint motion criticising India’s Citizenship Act. In partial relief for the government, however, the MEPs decided not to hold a vote on the motion until the second half of March this year. On March 13, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to visit Brussels for the EU-India summit, and an amendment moved by MEP Michael Gahler of the European People’s Party (EPP) sought time so as to ensure that India could engage with the MEPs on the motion.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
245 30-01-2020 - Cabinet approved to raise abortion limit to 24 weeks –The Union Cabinet approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The Bill will be introduced in the coming session of Parliament. The proposed amendment seeks to enhance the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women that will be defined in the amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules and will include vulnerable women including survivors of rape, victims of incestand others like differently abled women and minors.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
246 30-01-2020 - Email accounts of government officials hacked –An independent security researcher has alerted the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre, Government of India, that the credentials of the official email accounts of at least 3,000 employees working in sensitive establishments such as the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) among others have been hacked in various data breaches.
(Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
247 30-01-2020 - China-Tibet Issue: US house passes Bill on sanctions against Chinese officials–The US House of Representatives voted to authorise sanctions against Chinese officials who interfere in the process of determining the Dalai Lama’s successor, raising pressure as the Tibetan spiritual leader approaches 85. Under the legislation, Washington would freeze any U.S. assets and ban travel to the United States of Chinese officials found to be involved in identifying or installinga government-approved Dalai Lama. A total of 392 lawmakers voted for the Bill with 22, all of them Republicans plus one conservative independent, opposed. The Act still needs approval from the Senate, where Republican Marco Rubio has promised to lead efforts, before heading to President Donald Trump for his signature.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
248 30-01-2020 - Indigo Airlines: Shareholders voted out change to share transfer norm –In the latest round of the ongoing duel between IndiGo co-founders, Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal (RG), the former has emerged as the winner. The airline’s shareholders voted over whelmingly against a special resolution proposed by Mr.Gangwal which would deny his rival the right of first refusal in case of an equity sale. In a BSE filing after the meeting, Inter Globe Aviation Ltd. (IGAL) informed the resolution was defeated as the votes cast against it were more than three times than those cast in favour.
(Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
249 30-01-2020 - Free legal services to poor and needy: only one legal aid advocate for every 161 prisoners– Nearly 33 years after a law was enacted to ensure free legal services to the poor and needy, its quality and accessibility remains abysmal as a Supreme Court-appointed committee found only one legal aid advocate for every 161 prisoners to help them seek relief from courts. Legal Services Act was enacted in 1987 and National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) was set up in 1995 followed by State bodies (SALSAs). The SC-appointed committee, headed by former SC judge Justice Amitava Roy, surveyed data from 12 major states and found that free legal aid was provided by state authorities in 482 prisons, by NGOs in 97 prisons and pro bono by individual lawyers in 90 jails.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
250 30-01-2020 - R. P. N. Dev Mech and T. Basumatary, persons behind the Bodo deal–Driven by their shared dream of a “gun-free society” and working behind the scenes, a Bodo ‘prince’ and an IIT graduate in their 20s have emerged as the unsung heroes of the tripartite accord signed this week to end the community’s 34-year unrest. Rajkumar Prithviraj Narayan Dev Mech, the 19th descendant of King Chikra Mech, and Thulunga Basumatary, a graduate from IIT-Madras, not only visited Myanmar to rope in the anti-talks NDFB(S) functionaries based there but also drafted the pact that was then adopted almost in its entirety by all the stakeholders in the peace process. All of this was apparently accomplished by Prithviraj, who turned 22 a couple of months ago, and his friend with just their conviction and ability to persuade everyone, including the Union home ministry.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
251 30-01-2020 - Pak shuts Afghan border after mortar blast – Pakistan closed the Khyber Pass border crossing with Afghanistan for 10 hours after mortar bombs landed in Pakistani territory from across the border. The Torkham crossing, through which thousands of vehicles pass every week, is the main trade link between the uneasy neighbours. Exchanges of fire across the border, which Afghanistan has never recognised, are common. But an Afghan official denied that the country’s forces had fired into Pakistan. Hundreds of stuck vehicles began moving after the border crossing was reopened.

(Defence and Military, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
252 29-01-2020 - NPR in new format can create confusion: Nitish–Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the National Population Register (NPR) in its new format would create confusion in the country and suggested that the Centre should continue to retain the old format, in use since 2011.Mr. Kumar had earlier voiced opposition to the NRC, while calling for discussion on the CAA. The JD(U) had voted to enable the law’s passage in both Houses of Parliament.The JD(U) leader also remarked that it was up to the party’s national vice-president Prashant Kishor to decide if he wished to stay in the party or leave.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
253 29-01-2020 - 14 sentenced to life in Gujarat riots case granted interim bail –The Supreme Court granted interim bail to 14 persons sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 23 people in a Gujarat riots case of 2002, provided they keep aside six hours a week to engage themselves in “spiritual and social service”. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde said they could participate in seminars. The bail would continue until the court decides their appeals against conviction. These convicts, some of them represented by advocate Astha Sharma, should not enter Gujarat. Ms. Sharma said the appeals were filed in the Ode massacre case. The Bench found that these people were convicted on the basis of the testimonies of one or two witnesses.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
254 29-01-2020 - Coronavirus update: Air India flight to evacuate Indians–President Xi Jinping said China was in a struggle against a “demon” epidemic, as the death toll from the new SARS-like virus soared to 106 and the first cases of human-to-human contagion were detected abroad. Meanwhile after 24 hour of hectic parleys, India gained Beijing’s permission to airlift Indians from Wuhan. A Boeing 747 VT-ESO willbring 250 Indians to Mumbai.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
255 29-01-2020 - Sharjeel Imam arrested from Bihar village –Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam, who was absconding after cases were filed against him for “seditious and inflammatory” speeches at Aligarh Muslim University on January 16 and at other places, has been arrested from an area under the Kako police station in Jehanabad district of Bihar. Kako is his ancestral village. He has been booked under several Sections of the Indian Penal Code..
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
256 29-01-2020 - Nirbhaya Case:  Review of mercy plea –The scope of a judicial review of the President’s decision to reject a mercy petition is very limited, the Supreme Court orally told the lawyers for Nirbhaya case convict Mukesh Singh. A three-judge Bench, led by Justice R. Banumathi, refused to accede to a request by Mukesh, represented by senior advocates AnjanaPrakash, Rebecca John and Vrinda Grover, for perusal of the original files of the correspondence on his mercy petition and official notings. Justice Banumathi said the court did not want to wade into an “uncharted territory”.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
257 29-01-2020 - 10 more wetlands in India declared as Ramsar sites –India has added 10 more wetlands to sites protected by the Ramsar Convention. The 10 new ones are Nandu Madhameshwar, a first for Maharashtra; Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve and Nangal in Punjab; and Nawab ganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and Sarsai Nawar in Uttar Pradesh. The other Ramsar sites are in Rajasthan, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.With this, a total of 37 sites in the country have been recognised under the international treaty. Wetlands declared as Ramsar sites are protected under strict guidelines.The Convention, signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, is one of the oldest inter-governmental accord for preserving the ecological character of wetlands. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands.

(Indian Politics, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
258 29-01-2020 - Kunal Kamra barred from flying by Indigo, AI–Leading low-cost airline IndiGo announced that it was suspending stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for six months, as his conduct on board was unacceptable. Air India, too, suspended the stand-up comedian from flying with the airline till further notice. Mr. Kamra had earlier tweeted a video where he is seen accosting television journalist Arnab Goswami on board an Indigo flight. Goswami does not respond to Kamra in the 1.51-minute long video. An air hostess is heard asking the comedian to stop taking the video, but Kamra is heard saying he is willing to go to jail for this. Later, Kamra said he did it all for Rohith Vemula, the dalit student of Hyderabad University who committed suicide.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
259 29-01-2020 - Defying U.S., U.K. gives 5G role to Huawei – Prime Minister Boris Johnson granted Huawei a limited role in Britain’s 5G mobile network, resisting U.S. pressure to exclude the Chinese company from next generation communications over fears Beijing could use them to spy. Britain had to weigh its “special relationship” with the U.S. against Chinese trade and investment ties which it wants to develop after leaving the EU. Mr. Johnson, in the biggest test of his post-Brexit foreign policy to date, ruled that “high-risk vendors” would be allowed into the “non-sensitive” parts of 5G networks. However, their involvement will be capped at 35%, they will be excluded from the sensitive core, where data is processed, and they will be banned from all critical networks and locations such as nuclear sites and military bases.
(People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
260 29-01-2020 - Trump unveils West Asia plan, Palestinians protest –U.S. President Donald Trump proposed creation of a Palestinian state with capital in eastern Jerusalem, dependent on Palestinians taking steps to become self-governing, as part of a peace plan to end decades of conflict in the region. Senior administration officials said that under Mr. Trump’s proposed West Asia peace plan, the U.S. will recognise Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank. In exchange, Israel would agree to accept a four-year freeze on new settlement activity while Palestinian statehood is negotiated.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
261 29-01-2020 - Maruti’s profit rose by 4.12% – India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki’s consolidated net profit rose 4.12% to Rs. 1,587.4 crore for the third quarter ended December 2019, on account of a reduction in corporate tax rate, cost reduction efforts and lower commodity prices. The company had reported a net profit of Rs. 1,524.5 crore in the September-December 2018 quarter. Consolidated revenue from operations grew 5.29% to Rs. 20,721.8 crore from the Rs. 19,680.7 crore in the year-earlier period. In a statement, the company said it had sold more than 4.37 lakh vehicles during the quarter, higher by 2% compared with the same period of the previous year. While sales in the domestic market rose 2% to 4,13,698 units, exports stood at 23,663 units.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
262 28-01-2020 - 100% stack of Air India is on offer –  The Union government invited bids for a 100% stake sale of Air India (AI) and transfer of management control along with its complete share in two subsidiaries — low-cost international carrier Air India Express and ground-handling arm AISATS. The government has offered to hive off liabilities worth nearly Rs. 40,000 crore to sweeten the deal. This is the second attempt in two years by the NarendraModi-led government at privatising the national carrier. On May 31, 2018, when the deadline for bids closed, not even a single private player had shown interest.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
263 28-01-2020 - CAA: Proof of Religion may be needed, WB passes anti-CAA resolution–The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 rules are expected to seek ‘proof of religion’. The draft CAA rules are likely to seek documents from applicants that they entered India before December 31, 2014, and that they belong to the six religions exempted under the Act. The Assam government had asked MHA to impose a three-month time limit to apply under the CAA and not keep it “open-ended”.The CAA has the provision to grant citizenship to members of six undocumented minority communities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh — who entered India before December 31, 2014.

(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
264 28-01-2020 - North-East: Assam, Bodoland issue–The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Assam government and Bodo groups signed an agreement to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) in Assam, currently spread over the four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri. As per the agreement, villages dominated by Bodos that were presently outside the BTAD would be included and those with non-Bodo population would be excluded, Assam Finance Minister HimantaBiswaSarma said. Bodos living in the hills would be granted Scheduled Hill Tribe status.Several Bodo groups, led by the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), have been demanding a separate land for the ethnic community since 1972, a movement that has claimed nearly 4,000 lives.
(History, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
265 28-01-2020 - Nirbhaya Case: SC to hear plea today –A three-judge Bench led by Justice R. Banumathi is scheduled to hear a plea by Nirbhaya case convict Mukesh Singh challenging the President’s rejection of his mercy petition on January 17. Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde asked Mukesh’s counsel to approach the apex court registry for urgent listing of the condemned man’s plea. Chief Justice Bobde orally observed that the plea of a man, whose execution is scheduled for February 1, ought to be given top priority. The Bench, also comprising Justices AsholBhushan and A.S. Bopanna would hear the plea. The petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution has sought a stay of the execution of the death warrant. The Sessions Court had ordered that the death sentence be carried out on February 1.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
266 28-01-2020 - Corona virus outbreak: Li Keqiang visited Wuhan, Chinese tourist in Sri Lanka tests positive–Chinese Premier Li Keqiang inspected and directed efforts to control a virus outbreak in the central city of Wuhan and promised reinforcements, as provincial authorities faced accusations from the public of a failure to respond in time. Mr. Li, thanked medical workers in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the epicentre of the outbreak, as the death toll rose on Monday to 81.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
267 28-01-2020 - Trump Impeachment: – President Donald Trump denied that he told his former National Security Advisor John Bolton that military aid to Ukraine was tied to Kiev investigating his political rivals. Mr. Trump’s tweets came after The New York Times reported that Mr. Bolton alleges as much in a draft of his upcoming book.
(People and Personalities, World Politics)
268 28-01-2020 - Epstein probe: Prince Andrew provided zero cooperation on –Britain’s Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation to the American investigators who want to interview him about his dealings with the late millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said prosecutors and the FBI had contacted Prince Andrew’s lawyers and asked to interview him.Prince Andrew announced last year that he was withdrawing from his royal duties amid renewed public attention to a woman’s claim that she had several sexual encounters with the Prince at Epstein’s behest, starting at the age of 17.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
269 28-01-2020 - 62nd Grammy Awards– Ms.Eilish, won five awards, including the four most prestigious and competitive prizes — album, record and song of the year, and best new artist. She was the first artist to sweep the top awards since Christopher Cross in 1981, besting competition from Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Ariana Grande. Bad Guy, a No. 1 hit, took record and song of the year — the latter prize recognises songwriting — while When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? won album of the year and best pop vocal album. Mr.Finneas, as he is known, also won producer of the year and an engineering award. Lil Nas X, a gleeful master of internet memes, won two for his “country-trap” hybrid Old Town Road: best pop duo/group performance and best music video.

(Art Culture Literature, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
270 28-01-2020 - IndiGo’s profit risesLow-cost carrier IndiGo reported a steep rise in profit after tax to Rs. 496 crore for the quarter ended December 2019, almost three times the profit after tax of Rs. 185.2 crore recorded in the year-earlier period. The airline’s total income surged by a robust 25.5% Rs. 10,330.2 crore in the latest December quarter from the Rs. 8,229.3 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
271 28-01-2020 - ED Traces suspicious flows in PFI accounts– The Enforcement Directorate is probing a series of financial transactions involving the Popular Front of India (PFI) as part of a widening probe into the alleged role of the controversial Islamist outfit in fanning protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. A preliminary probe by the anti-money laundering agency has established a suspicious pattern of deposits into and withdrawal of money from PFI’s accounts. The ED has claimed that Rs 1.04 crore was deposited in 10 accounts of PFI and five belonging to another entity, the Rehab India Foundation, between December 4 last year and January 6 when protests against the change in the citizenship law were most intense.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
272 27-01-2020 - 71st Republic Day celebrations:events at Rajpath, New Delhi – India showcased its anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile capability to the world as a weapon, during the impressive Republic Day parade on 26th January 2020. Mission Shakti was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Chinook heavy lift helicopters and Apache attack helicopters, also made their debut. DRDO also displayed the Air Defence Tactical Control Radar (ADTCR). There were 16 marching contingents this year, including six from the Army, and 22 tableaux from various States and departments in the 90-minute parade. The flypast consisted of 41 aircraft of the IAF.
(Defence and Military, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
273 27-01-2020 - MGNREGA: Funds crunch hits the scheme –The Centre is on the verge of running out of funds for the crucial Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme. More than 96% of the allocated money has already been spent or is needed to pay pending dues, with less than Rs. 2,500 crore left to sustain the scheme for the next two months. Fifteen States are already in the red. According to the scheme’s financial statement as on January 26, Rajasthan has the highest negative net balance of Rs. 620 crore, followed by Rs. 323 crore in Uttar Pradesh. The situation on the ground may be worse as States do not always enter pending payments into the information system. January, February and March are months with little agricultural activity, when rural workers desperately need employment.
(Agriculture, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
274 27-01-2020 - EU Parliament set to vote on Kashmir, CAA–Close on the heels of a number of critical international statements and parliamentary resolutions, the government is bracing for six scathing resolutions on both Jammu and Kashmir and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, that have been filed by an overwhelming majority of members in the European Parliament. These will be taken up for discussion and voting this week. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) declined an official comment on the resolutions, which could have a deep impact on ties between India and the European Union.The draft resolutions are due to be taken up during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels on January 29 for discussion (around 6 p.m. local time) and January 30 for a vote.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
275 27-01-2020 - Corona virus Outbreak: death toll hits 56–The ability of the new corona virus to spread is strengthening and infections could continue to rise, with more than 2,000 people in China infected and 56 killed by the disease. Health officials around the world are racing to prevent a pandemic after a handful of cases of infection were reported outside China, including in Thailand, Australia, the U.S. and France. The Mayor of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, said he expected 1,000 new patients in the city, which was stepping up construction of special hospitals. The newly identified corona virus has created alarm because much about it is still unknown, such as how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
276 27-01-2020 - Blatant violations of Libya arms embargo continue: United Nations –The United Nations decried continued blatant violations by several countries of an arms embargo on war-torn Libya, flying in the face of pledges of peace made last week at an international conference in Berlin. These countries were supplying advanced weapons, armoured vehicles and foreign fighters. Libya sits on Africa’s Mediterranean coast, and is divided between rival governments, each supported by various armed militias and foreign backers. It has the ninth largest known oil reserves in the world and the biggest oil reserves in Africa. The weak but UN-recognised government in the capital Tripoli is backed by Turkey, and Qatar and Italy too.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, United Nations, World Politics)
277 27-01-2020 - Donald Trump Impeachment– According to a video recording released to US media, Donald Trump demanded the dismissal of Marie Yovanovitch, the Ambassador to Ukraine and a key figure in the President’s impeachment trial. The issue is central to Mr. Trump’s ongoing impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.His order to fire the Ambassador came after Mr. Parnas told him that Ms. Yovanovich was an impediment, and claiming that she had privately disparaged the President.The footage was reportedly taken during an April 2018 donor dinner at a hotel and released to news outlets by an attorney for Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Mr. Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
278 27-01-2020 - US-Iran issue updates–
A volley of rockets landed near the U.S. Embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, in the latest unclaimed attack on American installations in the country.
The United States will not lift sanctions on Iran in order to negotiate – US President
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
279 27-01-2020 - Israel-Palestine issue: Palestine threatened to quit Oslo Accord – Palestinian officials threatened to withdraw from key provisions of the Oslo Accords, which define relations with Israel, if U.S. President Donald Trump announces his West Asia peace plan next week. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Mr. Trump’s initiative will turn Israel’s “temporary occupation (of Palestinian territory) into a permanent occupation.The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, signed in Washington in 1995, sought to put into practice the first Oslo peace deal agreed two years earlier.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
280 27-01-2020 - India and Brazil signed 15 pacts to enhance ties–India and Brazil signed 15 agreements as Prime Minister N. Modi held talks with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade on Rajpath. The two sides signed a joint statement and an action plan with specific goals to deepen cooperation in defence and security; trade and investment; agriculture and energy; civil aviation; energy; environment; and health and innovation. The two sides promised to work together to deal with international terrorism. They set a target of US $ 15 billion in bilateral trade by 2022.
(Agriculture, Defence and Military, Energy, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
281 27-01-2020 - Medical board approves plan to add 10,000 PG seats this year – There may be a significant addition of 10,000 new postgraduate medical seats from the new academic session this year which will help improve availability of specialists across the country as well as facilitate the District Residency Programme which entails at least three months of rural posting. The Board of Governors (BoG) — vested with powers of the Medical Council of India (MCI) — approved the proposal to increase PG seats after states raised concerns about the residency programme, saying hospitals attached to medical colleges will suffer if these students are sent to district hospitals, a senior official said. The service at district hospitals is mandatory for every PG student.

(Education, Governance and Institutions, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
282 25-01-2020 - Criminalisation in Politics –The Supreme Court agreed to examine a proposition made by the Election Commission (EC) to ask political parties to not give ticket to those with criminal antecedents. 46% of Members of Parliament have criminal records. Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman which also comprising Justice Ravindra S. Bhat, asked Mr. Singh and petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay’s lawyer, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, to put their heads together and come up with a joint proposal detailing how it can be ensured that parties did not fall in with criminal politicians.The top court gave the two senior lawyers a week’s time to come up with their proposal. A September 2018 judgment of a Constitution Bench, had directed political parties to publish online the pending criminal cases against their candidates.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
283 25-01-2020 - Corona virus update–The Union Health Ministry extended its travel advisory to 12 more airports in addition to the current seven, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirming that 834 cases of corona virus infection had been reported from China, along with 26 deaths. As many as 1,789 passengers underwent thermal screening at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport till January 19, while 262 passengers were screened in Hyderabad.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
284 25-01-2020 - Nirbhaya Case–An advocate appearing for three of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case moved a Delhi court alleging that the Tihar jail authorities are not handing over certain documents and this is causing delay in filing their mercy and curative petitions. The plea is likely to be taken up for hearing on Jan 25. The Supreme court recently dismissed the curative petitions of other two convicts — Vinay and Mukesh Singh, 32. Mukesh’s mercy petition was rejected by the President earlier this month. The hanging of all four is to take place on February 1 at 6 a.m. according to the court order.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
285 25-01-2020 - Child care scheme in urban areas –Urban areas are likely to receive a renewed focus under the government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, which provides for anganwadis or day-care centres across the country for delivery of nutrition and pre-school education. The NITI Aayog, has prepared a draft working paper, which once approved would be circulated to different ministries for consultations. These include the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Urban Housing and Affairs and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.Of the 14 lakh anganwadis across the country there are only 1.38 lakh anganwadis in urban areas.The first-ever pan-India survey on the nutrition status of children, highlighted that malnutrition among children in urban India is characterised by relatively poor levels of breastfeeding as mothers have to travel long distances for work.
(Education, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
286 25-01-2020 - Corona virus update: mammoth quarantine effort–Chinese authorities rapidly expanded quarantine effort to 13 cities and a staggering 41 million people, as nervous residents were checked for fevers and the death toll climbed to 26. While the World Health Organization (WHO) held off on declaring a global emergency despite confirmed cases in half a dozen other countries, China expanded its lock down to cover an area with a total population greater than Canada’s. A range of Lunar New Year festivities have been cancelled, while temporary closures of Beijing’s Forbidden City, Shanghai's Disneyland and a section of the Great Wall were announced to prevent the disease from spreading further. The previously unknown virus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-03.
(People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Geography)
287 25-01-2020 - Sri Lankan army war crime charges – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s recent remarks that those reported missing from the time of the civil war were “actually dead” have sparked concern among families of disappeared persons.President Rajapaksa told this to the UN Resident Coordinator in a recent meeting.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
288 25-01-2020 - Direct Tax collection–India’s corporate and income tax collection for the current year is likely to fall for the first time in at least two decades. Government was targetting direct tax collection of Rs. 13.5 lakh crore ($189 billion) for the year ending March 31, a 17% increase over the prior fiscal year. However, a sharp decline in demand has stung businesses, forcing companies to cut investment and jobs, denting tax collections and prompting the government to forecast a 5% growth for this fiscal year — the slowest in 11 years.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
289 25-01-2020 - Monetary policy has limits, need fiscal steps too: RBI – Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das called for structural reforms and fiscal measures to activate growth, saying monetary policy has its limits. The governor identified five growth drives that could be prioritised to push growth. These are food processing industries, tourism, e-commerce, startups and efforts to become a part of the global value chain.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Treaties and Protocols, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
290 25-01-2020 - FATF: Pakistan may escape blacklist – With Pakistan getting the all clear on 14 out of 27 action plans by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at the recent review meeting, chances of it escaping the dreaded blacklist are much brighter as geopolitical considerations and some clever diplomatic moves by Islamabad might make things easier at February’s FATF plenary in Paris. There is a definite softening of the western position on Pakistan. China has pushed to get Pakistan off the hook at the FATF and will continue to make efforts in the next meeting.The current desire to give Pakistan a reprieve may have its roots in the on-going peace process in Afghanistan. The US needs Pakistan to deliver the Taliban on the peace deal, which would allow Donald Trump to bring back US troops from Afghanistan before the elections scheduled for Nov.
(People and Personalities, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
291 25-01-2020 - Nearly 40% of girls aged 15-18 yrs don’t go to school in India – Ten years after the Right to Education (RTE) Act came into being, nearly 40% of adolescent girls in the age group of 15-18 years don’t attend school while 30% of girls from poorest families have never set foot in a classroom. According to the report by Right to Education Forum and Centre for Budget Policy Studies with support of the World Bank and Unicef, poor compliance of RTE —12.7% across India— has been primarily due to the downward trend in financing school education, which has come down from 4.14% in 2014-15 to 3.40% in 2019-20. RTE Act of 2019 mandates education for children between the age of 6-14 years under Article 21A of the Constitution.
(Education, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
292 24-01-2020 - Corona virus Outbreak - Wuhan locked down, Indian nurse tests positive – China locked down some 20 million people at the epicenter of the new corona virus outbreak, banning planes and trains from leaving in an unprecedented move aimed at containing the disease, which has spread to other countries. The respiratory virus, 2019-nCoV, has claimed 17 lives since emerging from a seafood and animal market in the central city of Wuhan, infected hundreds of other people and been detected as far away as the U.S.Streets and shopping centers in Wuhan, with a population of 11 million, were eerily quiet after authorities told residents not to leave the city, where most of the cases have been identified. Trains and planes out of Wuhan were indefinitely suspended and tollways on roads out of the city were closed, leading to fear and panic among those trapped.An Indian nurse working in Saudi Arabia has tested positive for corona virus, but with a different strain. (People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
293 24-01-2020 - Kashmir Issue: India rejects Trump offer –Ruling out any role for a “third party” in the Kashmir issue, India rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments offering to mediate between India and Pakistan. The President’s latest offer was made at a joint press appearance with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, repeating a previous offer made in June 2019.
(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
294 24-01-2020 - Nirbhaya Case: Condemned can’t fight endlessly - CJI–Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde said a condemned person cannot fight the death penalty endlessly and it was important for the capital punishment to reach its finality. The death penalty, he noted, cannot be questioned at every turn by the convict. The CJI said it was not for a judge to forgive a crime. The cardinal duty of a judge was to see if the punishment was proportionate to the crime. The law applied whether the criminal was a first-timer or a hardened one.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
295 24-01-2020 - Corruption Index : India slips two places –India’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI-2019) has slipped from 78 to 80 compared to the previous year, said Transparency International, questioning the “unfair and opaque political financing” in the country. Its score of 41 out of 100 remains the same. In democracies such as India and Australia, unfair and opaque political financing, undue influence in decision-making and lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups have resulted in stagnation or a decline in the control of corruption. The report has revealed that a majority of countries are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption.
(Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
296 24-01-2020 - Global Warming: Rising CO2 levels may double floods, storms–The risk of extreme floods or storms could double every 13 years at the rate carbon-dioxide concentrations are building up in the atmosphere. This could spell a “catastrophe” for India, scientists have warned in a study.The number of intense “hydro-meteorological” disasters could increase by 5.4% annually for an “average” country facing annually nearly one “extreme disaster” (defined as one that causes 100 or more fatalities and/or affects 1,000 or more people).
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Geography)
297 24-01-2020 - New Species: snake eel discovered in Odisha – A new snake eel species residing in the Bay of Bengal has been discovered.It has been documented by the Estuarine Biology Regional Centre (EBRC) of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) at Gopalpur-on-sea in Odisha. This new marine species has been named Ophichthus kailash chandrai to honour the vast contributions of Dr.Kailash Chandra, Director of ZSI, to Indian animal taxonomy. Ophichthus kailash chandrai is the eighth species of the Ophichthus genus found on the Indian coast. It is the fifth new species discovered by the Gopalpur ZSI in the last two years.
(People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
298 24-01-2020 - Rohingya Muslims: ICJ orders Myanmar to protect –The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Myanmar to take urgent measures to protect its Rohingya population from genocide, a ruling cheered by refugees as their first major legal victory since being forced from their homes. A lawsuit launched by Gambia in November at the United Nations’ highest body for disputes between states accuses Myanmar of genocide against Rohingya in violation of a 1948 convention. The court’s final decision could take years, and present ruling dealt only with Gambia’s request for preliminary measures. But in a unanimous ruling by the 17 judge panel, the court said the Rohingya face an ongoing threat and Myanmar must act to protect them.

(Constitution and Law, History, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
299 24-01-2020 - India despatched 30,000 of measles to help Maldives tackle measles outbreak – India has stepped in to help the Maldives tackle a recent outbreak of measles, identified at a government hospital about three weeks ago. The Indian Embassy in Male handed over 30,000 doses of measles and rubella (MR) vaccine to the Maldivian Health Ministry. The outbreak comes less than three years after the World Health Organisation declared the Maldives measles-free. As many as six persons have so far been affected by the contagious viral infection. Following the development, health authorities in the Maldives said they have intensified the vaccination drive, to prevent the infectious disease from spreading further.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
300 24-01-2020 - Dues related to AGR: Reliance Jio pays Rs. 195 crore– The Department of Telecom will not take any coercive action against telecom companies that fail to meet the January 23 deadline to pay dues related to adjusted gross revenue (AGR).The Licensing Finance Policy Wing, in its order, has also sought a detailed status report of compliance to be sent to the CGCA by January 24. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have sought more time to pay their dues, given that the Supreme Court would hear their plea to modify its October 24 order next week, Reliance Jio has paid about Rs. 195 crore to the telecom department to clear all AGR-related dues up till January 31, 2020.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
301 24-01-2020 - SEBI eyes AI, machine learning to fix market manipulation – The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) plans to acquire technology to monitor social media, which is being extensively used for market manipulation. The regulator has already issued a tender to acquire such technology and also has plans to further augment its analytical capabilities using advanced technology-based tools. The capital markets regulator has also planned a ‘data lake’ project using tools like machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data analysis among other things. Data lake refers to a repository of data that is stored in a very raw or unstructured manner.
(Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
302 23-01-2020 - Citizenship law: SC refused to stay– The Supreme Court said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, is “uppermost in everybody’s minds”, but refused to stay the law without hearing the government first. A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Bobde did not heed pleas to even postpone the process of collecting population data to identify illegal migrants or “doubtful citizens” on the basis of their religion. The CJI indicated that the CAA challenge may eventually be referred to a Constitution Bench for a decision on merits. The Bench issued notice on at least 80 more fresh petitions filed for and against the CAA. It gave the government four weeks to file its response. The government urged the court to “freeze” the number of petitions filed in the case.
(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
303 23-01-2020 - Nirbhaya Case: Guidelines on execution of convicts–The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved the Supreme Court to frame guidelines to execute death penalty of condemned prisoners within seven days (Current norm is of fourteen days)of rejection of their mercy petitions.The move comes amid various pleas filed by convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape case that have delayed their hanging. The four convicts are on death row since 2013 after a trial court ruled against them. Multiple curative petitions and mercy pleas filed before the President of India have been rejected. The MHA filed an application in the court to seek “appropriate clarification/modification and directions” in the 2014 Shatrughan Singh Chauhan and another vs Union of India judgment that defined the procedure to be adopted in cases of prisoners on death row.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
304 23-01-2020 - Democracy Index 2019 –The latest edition of the Democracy Index spells gloom for India. The world’s biggest democracy slipped 10 places in the 2019 global ranking to 51st place. The survey attributes the primary cause of “the democratic regression” to “an erosion of civil liberties in the country”. India’s overall score fell from 7.23 to 6.9, on a scale of 0-10, within a year (2018-2019) — the country’s lowest since 2006. The report, “A year of democratic setbacks and popular protest”, was done by The Economist Intelligence Unit — the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, which is the sister company to The Economist newspaper.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
305 23-01-2020 - MBS may be linked to Bezos phone hack: UN experts–Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have been involved in a plot to hack the phone of Amazon’s billionaire boss Jeff Bezos. The UN special rapporteurs, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, said they had information pointing to the “possible involvement” of the Prince in the alleged 2018 cyber attack. Saudi officials have dismissed the allegations as absurd. Cyber security experts hired by Mr. Bezos, the world’s richest man, concluded his phone was probably infiltrated by a video file sent from a WhatsApp account purportedly belonging to Prince Mohammed, known as MBS, in 2018, according to a person familiar with the matter.
(People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
306 23-01-2020 - Corona virus: 9,156 air passengers screened–A total of 43 flights and 9,156 passengers have been screened for novel Corona virus (nCoV) illness till January 21 and no cases have been detected through the efforts.As part of the measures taken by the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, and Civil Aviation, a travel advisory had been issued and posted on the Health Ministry’s website.Deaths from China’s new flu-like virus rose to 17 on Jan 22.
(People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
307 23-01-2020 - Cabinet clears Rs. 4,372 cr. for six NIT campuses– The Union Cabinet approved Rs. 4,371.90 crore for setting up permanent campuses for six National Institutes of Technology (NITs) that have been functioning from temporary structures after being set up in 2009. The Cabinet approved funds for the National Institutes of Technology in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Puducherry and Delhi.
(Education, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
308 23-01-2020 - Trump trial: GOP, Democrats fight over witness procedures–Day 1 of U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial at the Senate stretched across some thirteen acrimonious hours and extended into the early hours of Jan 22, as Democrats pushed for a change to GOP-proposed trial rules and Republicans mostly stood together to resist changes. None of the 11 amendments proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were approved by the Republican controlled Senate, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to yield some ground on the timetable for opening arguments. Mr. McConnell had initially allocated 24 hours over two days each for the prosecution and defence — a scheduling that would mean most Americans would miss parts of the broadcast which would extend well into the night.
(People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
309 23-01-2020 - Trade war with EU nations: Warns US President – U.S. President Donald Trump relaunched a major trade offensive against Europe, threatening to hit the EU with damaging auto tariffs if Europeans failed to agree a long-delayed trade deal. With observers warning that global harmony on trade was crucial to the health of the world economy, Mr. Trump warned Europe that the U.S. would protect its interests, on the second day of his stay at the Davos economic forum.
(People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
310 23-01-2020 - L & T profit rises 15.4% – Engineering and construction major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) reported a 15.4% increase in its third quarter net profit to Rs. 2,560 crore, even as revenue and order-flow growth slowed down. The profit was reported on a 5.4% growth in revenue during the quarter to Rs. 36,717.6 crore. The company won new orders worth Rs. 41,579 crore during the quarter in a subdued business environment, registering a 2% growth over a year earlier.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
311 23-01-2020 - Maruti met 5 lakh in sales of BS-VI vehicles – Ahead of new BS-VI emission norms kicking in April onwards, the country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki had achieved cumulative sales of 500,000 BS-VI compliant vehicles. Currently, ten vehicle models from the company’s stable, including the Baleno, Alto 800, Wagon R, Swift, Dzire, Ertiga, XL 6, S-presso, Celerio and Eeco, come with BS-VI compliant petrol engines. These models contribute nearly 75% of the company’s petrol volumes. As per a 2018 Supreme Court order, sale and registration of BS-IV compliant vehicles must end by March 31, 2020. After this date, vehicle makers will only be able to sell BS-VI compliant vehicles.
(Constitution and Law, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
312 22-01-2020 - NPR: Questions on parents may be dropped– Chief of key BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Union Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan said the government may consider the widespread demand to remove the questions on date and place of birth of a respondent’s parents from the National Population Register. The government would agree to the demand and had repeatedly clarified that the production of documents would not be mandatory. So far, there is no official notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is helming the exercise, on changes to the NPR form. The government has not yet notified the NPR form, but fears about its links with NRC are spurring protests.
(Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
313 22-01-2020 - Census 2021: data can be filled online –In the second phase of the Census exercise that will be conducted in February 2021, respondents will have the option to fill in details on their own. The ‘population enumeration’ phase of the Census — which is to be carried out from February 9 to 28, 2021 — will have the facility of online self-enumeration for the public. The respondent could register online and fill in the details and share the reference number with the enumerators when they arrive. Around 30 lakh enumerators, mostly government officials and government school teachers, will each be assigned the responsibility of collecting details of about 650-800 people online and offline. (Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
314 22-01-2020 - Corona virus outbreak –As six deaths were reported in China due to the Novel Corona virus, Dr.Roderico Ofrin, Regional Emergency Director, World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region, has said much remains to be understood about the virus. An emergency meeting of the WHO will assess the situation. It will decide whether the situation constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and what recommendations should be made. The death toll from the virus in China climbed to six as new cases surged beyond 300. Thailand has reported two cases and South Korea one, all involving Chinese travellers from Wuhan. Japan and Taiwan also confirmed one case each. WHO is dealing with the matter as well, on urgent basis.
(Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
315 22-01-2020 - Indian Railways: possibilities of PPP mode –Even with an annual capital expenditure of about Rs. 1.6 lakh crore for the Railways — which is the highest-ever — it will take decades to complete the sanctioned projects, the Ministry of Railways told a parliamentary panel adding that public private partnership (PPP) is the only way out. The transporter needs Rs. 50 lakh crores to complete the sanctioned projects till 2030. The Centre said it does not plan to privatise the Railways and Union Minister Piyush Goyal had clarified in the past that there was a proposal to outsource the commercial and on-board services of a few trains and to permit private players to induct modern rakes to run trains on select routes to improve services.
(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
316 22-01-2020 - Thirty Metre Telescope: proposed place could change –India, a partner in the construction of one of the largest telescopes in the world, wants the project to be moved out of the proposed site at Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii. The TMT or Thirty Metre Telescope, is a joint venture (JV) involving five countries, but the $2 billion project has been spoiled by protests for over a decade. The proposed site is considered sacred to indigenous Hawaiians, and also has too many observatories for one more such massive establishment to come up.
(Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
317 22-01-2020 - US-Iran relations: $3 million to kill Trump – An Iranian lawmaker offered a $3 million reward to anyone who killed U.S. President Donald Trump and said Iran could avoid threats if it had nuclear arms. U.S. disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward asridiculous and said that it showed the terrorist under pinnings of Iran's establishment. Tensions have escalated since the U.S. pulled out of Tehran’s nuclear agreement and reimposed sanctions. The standoff erupted into tit-for-tat military strikes in Jan 2020.
(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Terrorism, Treaties and Protocols, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
318 22-01-2020 - Hacking charges on Journalist Glenn Greenwald –Federal prosecutors charged U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald with assisting a group of hackers who intercepted the cellular phone calls of Justice Minister Sergio Moro when he was the judge handling Brazil's biggest-ever corruption case. The Intercept website edited by Mr. Greenwald published damaging conversations between Mr. Moro and prosecutors in the Car Wash investigation that showed the judge advising them in the case against now jailed former leftist president LuizInacio Lula da Silva.
(Constitution and Law, People and Personalities, Science and Technology)
319 22-01-2020 - Zomato purchases Uber Eats in $300 million– Zomato announced the acquisition of Uber’s food delivery business Uber Eats, in India, in an all-stock deal that will give the U.S.-headquartered ride-hailing services 9.99% stake in Zomato. Effective from Jan 21, 2020, Uber Eats’ operations in the country have been discontinued and users, along with restaurants and delivery partners are being directed to Zomato. Uber, which is aiming to turn profitable by 2021, had launched Uber Eats in India in 2017, and has about 26,000 restaurants listed on the platform across 41 cities.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
320 22-01-2020 - FMCG growth in single digit in 2019: Nielsen – After two years of double-digit growth, the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment slowed down to single digit growth in 2019 even as the last quarter of the previous calendar year indicated that the slowdown is showing signs to reduce. According to Nielsen, FMCG grew at 9.7% in 2019, much lower than the previous year’s growth of 13.5%. Further, the growth trend was dampened by a drop in volume growth — down to 5.8% from 10.5% in 2018 — while price-led growth sustained at 3.4%.
(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
321 22-01-2020 - Rearming of anti-defection law – In an important order aimed at rearming the anti-defection law, the Supreme Court set three months as the outer limit for the Speaker to conclude disqualification proceedings against defectors. It also recommended that keeping in view the partisan conduct of Speakers, Parliament should amend the Constitution to set up a permanent tribunal to decide cases under the 10th Schedule. (Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
322 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)
323 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)
324 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)
325 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)
326 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)
327 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)
328 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)
329 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)
330 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)
331 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)
332 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)
333 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)
334 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)
335 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)
336 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)
337 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)
338 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)
339 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)
340 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)
341 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)
342 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)
343 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)
344 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)
345 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)
346 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)
347 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)
348 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)
349 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)
350 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)
351 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)
352 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)
353 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)
354 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)
355 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)
356 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)
357 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)
358 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)
359 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)
360 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)
361 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)
362 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)
363 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)
364 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)
365 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)
366 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)
367 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)
368 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)
369 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)
370 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)
371 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)
372 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)
373 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)
374 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)
375 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)
376 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)
377 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)
378 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)
379 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)
380 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)
381 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)
382 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)
383 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)
384 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)
385 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)
386 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)
387 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)
388 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)
389 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)
390 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)
391 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)
392 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)
393 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)
394 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)
395 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)
396 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)
397 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)
398 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)
399 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)
400 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)
401 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)
402 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)
403 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)
404 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)
405 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)
406 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)
407 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)
408 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)
409 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)
410 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)
411 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)
412 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)
413 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)
414 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)
415 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)
416 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)
417 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)
418 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)
419 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)
420 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)
421 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)
422 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)
423 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)
424 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)
425 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)
426 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)
427 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)
428 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)
429 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)
430 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)
431 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)
432 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)
433 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)
434 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)
435 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)
436 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)
437 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)
438 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)
439 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)
440 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)
441 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)
442 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
443 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.
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(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Religion, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
444 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).
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(Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
445 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.
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(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
446 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.
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(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
447 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.
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(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
448 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.
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(Defence and Military, Energy, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Economy, World Politics)
449 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
450 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.
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(Defence and Military, Regional Politics, Religion, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous, United Nations, World Politics)
451 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.
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(Education, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
452 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.
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(Defence and Military, History, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, World Economy, World Politics)
453 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!
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(Education, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
454 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
455 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues)
456 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.
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(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
457 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.”
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(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
458 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.
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(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Politics)
459 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%.
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(Defence and Military, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Economy, Regional Politics, Terrorism, World Economy, World Politics)
460 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.
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(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
461 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.
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(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
462 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, History, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
463 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, People and Personalities, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
464 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.
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(Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
465 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.
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(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Infrastructure, Social Issues)
466 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.
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(Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Science and Technology, Social Issues)
467 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.
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(Art Culture Literature, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, People and Personalities, Social Issues)
468 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.
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(Defence and Military, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Politics)
469 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
470 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.
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(Agriculture, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
471 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.
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(Energy, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
472 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.
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(Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
473 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.”
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(Defence and Military, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
474 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.”
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(Defence and Military, Indian Politics, Regional Politics, Social Issues, Terrorism, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
475 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.
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(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
476 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Politics, People and Personalities)
477 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
478 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.
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(Art Culture Literature, History, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
479 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.
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(Defence and Military, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Politics)
480 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.
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(Regional Politics, Social Issues, World Politics)
481 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.
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(Indian Economy, Infrastructure, Regional Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
482 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.
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(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
483 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)
484 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)
485 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)
486 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)
487 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)
488 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)
489 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)
490 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.
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(Constitution and Law, Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions, People and Personalities, Regional Politics, World Economy, World Politics)
491 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.
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(Defence and Military, Social Issues, Terrorism, World Politics)
492 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.
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(Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Infrastructure, Trivia and Miscellaneous, World Economy)
493 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.”
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(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy, Indian Politics, Religion, Social Issues)
494 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.
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(History, Indian Politics, People and Personalities, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
495 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.”
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(Environment Ecology and Climate Change, Social Issues, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
496 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)
497 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)
498 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)
499 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)
500 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)





     

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