Current Affairs February 2019

                                    CURRENT    AFFAIRS    FEBRUARY    2019

INTERNATIONAL

Zimbabwe Starts Trading New Currency RTGS dollar

Zimbabwe started to trade its new currency, the RTGS dollar, two days after the central bank announced measures to try and resolve a chronic monetary crisis. The bank unveiled a foreign exchange trading system that effectively devalued its quasi-currency, the bond note, which was officially pegged at parity with the US dollar.

 

Donald Trump Signs SPD-4 to Create US Space Force

US President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-4 (SPD-4), ordering the Pentagon to establish the Space Force as the 6th branch of the United States military, to go along with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, in order to secure and extend American dominance of the space domain.

 

Saudi becomes 73rd Nation to Sign International Solar Alliance

Saudi Arabia became the 73rd nation to sign the International Solar Alliance. ISA was unveiled by PM Narendra Modi and former French President Francois Hollande in 2015. The move came at Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visit to India.

 

India hiked the custom duty of Pakistan goods to 200 percent

After the Pulwama terror strike, the Union government has hiked the basic customs duty on all goods imported from the neighbouring country to 200% with immediate effect. This comes after India revoked the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) status to Pakistan on February 15 following the Pulwama terror strike, that killed 40 CRPF personnel. The two main items imported from Pakistan are fruits and cement, on which the current customs duty is 30-50% and 7.5%, respectively.

 

Macedonia Officially Changed Its Name to North Macedonia

The country, formerly known as the Republic of Macedonia officially changed its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, on paper ending a decades-long dispute that should pave the way for NATO membership. The freshly named country celebrated the event with a flag-raising ceremony marking its prospective – and long-awaited – accession to NATO.

 

Women with four children to get life tax exemption in Hungary

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that women in the country with four children or more will be exempted for life from paying income tax. The move aims at boosting the country’s population. The PM said that this is a way of defending Hungary’s future without depending on immigration.

 

Macedonia signs accord to join NATO

Macedonia signed an accord to join NATO to become the 30th member of the US-led alliance. At a formal signing of the NATO accession protocol, Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov hailed the moment as showing that the country will never walk alone once in the alliance.

 

INDIA  &  WORLD

India destroys Jaish-e-Mohammeds biggest camp in Pakistan

Indian government confirmed that Indian Air Force (IAF) jets destroyed the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan’s Balakot in the strike carried out by 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets. IAF dropped around 1,000 kg bombs on JeM terror camps across the Line of Control (LoC) in Muzafarabad sector.

 

India to Attend OIC Meet for 1st Time in Abu Dhabi

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been invited to deliver an address at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Abu Dhabi. This is the first time that a leader of the non-Muslim country has been invited to the OIC conference. Ms Swaraj will be the Guest of Honour and address the inaugural plenary of the 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC.

 

India to stop its share of water flowing into Pakistan

The Minister of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari has said that India would fully utilise its share of unused water from rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej that has been flowing into Pakistan. The comment was made by the Minister in the backdrop of the Pulwama Terror attack which took the life of 40 CRPF soldiers.

 

India withdraws Most Favoured Nation status granted to Pakistan

India has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation status granted to Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir. A decision in this regard was taken during the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, CCS in New Delhi. Union Minister Arun Jaitley said that Ministry of External Affairs will initiate all possible diplomatic steps which are to be taken to ensure the complete isolation Pakistan from the international community.

 

NATIONAL

Govt panel proposes national minimum wage of Rs 375 per day

A government panel has recommended a national minimum wage of ₹375 per day or ₹9,750 per month plus an additional housing allowance of ₹1,430 per month for workers in cities. The minimum wage would be ‘irrespective of sectors, skills, occupations and rural-urban locations’. Currently, minimum wages are decided by respective state governments.

 

India becomes World’s Second Largest Consumer and importer of LPG

As per Oil Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, India has become the second largest importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) after China,due to rising demands of cleaner alternatives to the traditional cooking fuels like firewood and cow dung. India surpassed Japan as the imports of LPG grew 12.5% over the last 5 years to 12 million metric tons.

 

Clouded Leopard’ to be Mascot for National Games 2022

The Sports and Youth Ministry in the meeting of Executive Committee of the National Games 2022 has chosen the Smiling Clouded Leopard to be the Mascot for the National Games 2022. Meghalaya will host the 2022 National Games, which is coinciding with its 50 years of statehood. Clouded Leopard is among the wild cats that live throughout the forests of Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia Hills.

 

STATES

Odisha launches boat ambulance service for remote areas

A boat ambulance service has been launched by the Odisha government. It would be used to transport patients to hospitals in remote areas.The cost of the project is Rs 5.40 crore. The ambulance service can be availed by dialling ‘108’. The first boat ambulance was introduced at Batighar in Kendrapara district.

 

TN becomes First State in mainland to get 2 Coast Guard Districts

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit inaugurated the second Coast Guard district headquarters at Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is the first state in India to get a second Coast Guard district headquarters. The first district headquarters is Chennai.

 

India’s First District Cooling System to be Built in Amravati

United Arab Emirates (UAE) based international cooling provider, National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed) entered into a 30-year concession with Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) to build India’s first district cooling system in Amaravati.

 

Harsimrat Kaur Badal commissions first Aqua Mega Food Park in Andhra Pradesh

Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park, first aqua mega food park was commissioned by Secretary of Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), Pushpa Subrahmanyam on behalf of Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal via video conferencing in Andhra Pradesh.

 

Ladakh declared Jammu & Kashmirs third administrative division

The Jammu & Kashmir Government on Friday declared Ladakh as the third administrative division of the state. An order issued by Governor Satya Pal Malik‘s administration said, “The Government has approved the creation of a separated administrative/revenue division of Ladakh”.

 

Punjab Government approves ‘Smart Village Campaign’ Worth of Rs 385 Crores

The Punjab government approved a rural development scheme worth Rs 384.40 crore to supplement the ongoing works to build village infrastructure and provide essential amenities. Named ‘Smart Village Campaign’, the scheme would be financed with funds from the 14th Financial Commission and MGNREGA works.

 

16th Lok Sabha Session Concludes

The last session of 16th Lok Sabha came to an end on 13th of February 2019. Giving the details for the tenure of 16th Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed that there were a total number of 331 sittings for Lok Sabha. 205 bills were passed and the productivity was 85%. For Rajya Sabha, 154 bills were passed and the productivity was 68%.

 

SPORTS  &  GAMES

Apurvi wins gold at shooting World Cup

Apurvi Chandela won the first gold for India at the ISSF World Cup by finishing on top of the women’s 10 metre Air Rifle category in New Delhi. She also set a new world record with 252.9 points on the way to the title. Apurvi, who had booked a quota place for the 2020 Olympics last year, thus bagged her third individual medal at a World Cup.

 

‘Clouded Leopard’ to be Mascot for National Games 2022

The Sports and Youth Ministry in the meeting of Executive Committee of the National Games 2022 has chosen the Smiling Clouded Leopard to be the Mascot for the National Games 2022. Meghalaya will host the 2022 National Games, which is coinciding with its 50 years of statehood. Clouded Leopard is among the wild cats that live throughout the forests of Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia Hills.

 

Vidharbha lift Ranji Trophy for second time in a row

Vidarbha lifted their second successive Ranji Trophy title with a comfortable 78-run win over Saurashtra. Left arm spinner, Sarwate was adjudged man of the match. Vidarbha is only the sixth team in the tournament’s long history to have defended the title.

 

Smriti Mandhana becomes World No.1 Women’s ODI Batter

Indian women’s cricket team opener Smriti Mandhana has become the top-ranked batter in women’s ODI cricket, as per the latest rankings released by the ICC. The 22-year-old moved up three spots in the batters’ rankings to reach the top spot. In the 15 ODIs Smriti has played since the beginning of 2018, she has scored two centuries and eight half-centuries.

 

ECONOMY

Fiscal deficit pegged at 3.4% of GDP for 2019-20

The Interim Budget 2019-20 has pegged the fiscal deficit for the year 2019-20 at 3.4% of GDP. The fiscal deficit for the current fiscal has been revised upward to 3.4 per cent from the Budgeted target of 3.3 per cent in previous year. Fiscal deficit for FY21 has been pegged at 3 percent.

 

RBI formalised USD 75-billion swap pact with Bank of Japan

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)and the Bank of Japan formalised the USD 75- billion swap agreement, which would act as a cushion against any sharp swings in the local currency whenever the international financial markets turn volatile. The proposal for entering into an agreement for the bilateral swap arrangement was approved by the Union Cabinet.

 

J P Morgan became First US Bank With Cryptocurrency

JP Morgan rolled out as the first US bank with cryptocurrency. The change in opinion of JP Morgan is the first step in the program of making it more competitive. The currency is designed to be decentralized so that no one has control over transactions being sent over the network. JP Morgan will be using the cryptocurrency to see its potential in using digital coins to reduce risk and enable instant transfers.

 

RBI announces bi-monthly monetary policy

The Monetary Policy Committee headed by Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das, announced a reduction in policy repo rate. The repo rate will reduced from 6.5 per cent to 6.25 per cent with immediate effect. Consequently, the reverse repo rate stands adjusted to 6.0 per cent, and the marginal standing facility rate and the Bank Rate to 6.5 per cent.

 

SCIENCE  &  TECHNOLOGY

NASA to Launch SPHEREx Mission to Investigate Universe

NASA has announced a new space telescope mission dedicated to understanding the origins of life and the universe. It’s called the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer or SPHEREx, for short. The space agency is aiming for a 2023 launch.

 

India successfully tests Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet Propelled Missile

India has successfully undertaken the demonstration of the indigenously developed propulsion technology. The successful demonstration of indigenous technology is a step forward in the development of long-range air-to-air missiles.

 

ISRO to launch its 40th communication satellite GSAT-31

The Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO,  launched its 40th communication satellite GSAT-31 on February 6 from the spaceport in French Guiana. The satellite with a mission life of 15 years will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites and augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit.

 

PERSONS IN NEWS

Narendra Modi Conferred with Seoul Peace Prize

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been conferred with the Seoul Peace Prize for 2018 for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth.

 

Sunil Chhetri Given First Ever Football Ratna Award

Football Delhi conferred Sunil Chhetri with first ever “Football Ratna” Award. Delhi Dynamos player Shubham Sarangi was also honoured. He has scored 2nd highest number of goals in international football matches among active players after Cristiano Ronaldo. Chhetri has also been named AIFF (All India Football Federation) Player of the Year five times in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017.

 

Manus Island refugee Behrouz Boochani won Australian literary prize

Manus Island ’s refugee Behrouz Boochani ’s debut book ‘No Friends But the Mountains’ won both the 25,000 dollars non-fiction prize at the Victorian premier’s literary awards and the 100,000 dollars Victorian prize for literature , in Australia.

 

SC Appoints Former Judge Justice D.K. Jain as BCCI Ombudsman

The Supreme Court appointed a retired judge of the court Justice D.K. Jain as the first ombudsman under the new BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) Constitution approved by the court in a judgment. Bringing a quietus to the quibbling between the Committee of Administrators (CoA) which runs the BCCI and the State bodies that form the Board, a Bench of Justices S.A.

 

Sushil Chandra is appointed as an Election Commissioner

President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Sushil Chandra as an Election Commissioner of India. Mr.Chandra is the second Indian Revenue Service (IRS) official to hold the post after T.S.Krishnamurthy.

 

Rishi Kumar Shukla appointed CBI Director

IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla has been appointed as the chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a fixed tenure of two years. Rishi Kumar Shukla is currently serving as the chairman of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation in Bhopal.

 

DAYS  &  DATES

21 February: International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day has been observed every year on 21st February since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. This year, International Mother Language day 2019 will be framed by the International Year of indigenous languages 2019 (IYIL19) around the theme ‘Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation’.

 

04 February: World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day is being observed observed globally on 4th February. This year, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), which organizes World Cancer Day, is launching a new 3-year (2019-2021) campaign with the theme: ‘I Am and I Will’. The Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year through education, raising awareness and by pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the deadly disease.

 

February 02: World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February to raise global awareness on the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet. The theme of World Wetlands Day 2019 is ‘Wetlands and Climate Change’.