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Current Affairs (January 29th - February 04th, 2018)

  • North Korea cancels joint cultural performance with South Korea
    South Korea's Unification Ministry said on 29th January that North Korea has abruptly cancelled a joint cultural performance with South Korea that is scheduled for the 4th of next month, blaming South Korean media for encouraging so-called insulting public sentiment regarding the North.

    Seoul said North Korea's decision to cancel the joint performance is very regrettable and stressed Pyongyang should uphold all agreements made between North and South Korea. The joint cultural event is slated to be held at Mount Kumgang in North Korea.

  • US lifts ban on refugees from 11 countries
    Current Affairs The United States has announced it was lifting its ban on refugees from 11 "high-risk" countries, but said those seeking to enter the US would come under much tougher scrutiny than in the past. Applicants from 11 countries, unnamed but understood to include 10 Muslim-majority nations plus North Korea, will face tougher risk-based assessments to be accepted.

    The 11 countries, hit with a ban in October in the Trump administration's revised refugee policy, have not been identified officially. But refugee groups say they comprise Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

  • India's foreign policy has become vibrant, assertive: Chinese think-tank
    India's foreign policy has become vibrant and assertive under the Modi Government with its risk-taking ability also on the rise. This was stated by Rong Ying, Vice President of China Institute of International Studies, a think-tank affiliated to Chinese Foreign Ministry, in an article in the CIIS journal, the first of its kind by a Chinese think tank on the Modi Government so far.

    He said over the past three years, India's diplomacy has been vibrant and assertive, and has formed a distinctive and unique 'Modi Doctrine', a strategy for the rise of India as a great power in the new situation.

    Rong, who also served as a diplomat in India, took a critical look at India's relations with China, South and South East Asia, India's closer relations with US and Japan, saying Indian foreign policy under him has become increasingly assertive while offering mutual benefits.

    On India-China ties, Rong said since Modi took office, the development of overall relations between the two countries has maintained steady momentum. Rong, also a senior research fellow at the CIIS, said India and China should stick to the strategic consensus of mutual support for each other's development.

    On the future formula for ties, he said as major countries on the rise, India and China are both partners and competitors.

    India’s huge market potential will bring about opportunities for the successful transformation of China’s economy, especially for Chinese enterprises going global,he added.

  • China successfully launches first seismo-electromagnetic satellite
    China on 2nd February successfully launched its first seismo-electromagnetic satellite to study seismic precursors, which might help it establish a ground-space earthquake monitoring and forecasting network in the future. A Long March-2D rocket, which was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gobi Desert, carried the 730-kilogramme China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES) into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of about 500 Kms.

    Known as Zhangheng 1 in Chinese, it will help scientists monitor the electromagnetic field, ionospheric plasma and high-energy particles for an expected mission life of five years.

    Zhangheng 1 will record electromagnetic data associated with earthquakes above 6 magnitude in China and those above 7 magnitude around the world, in a bid to identify patterns in the electromagnetic disturbances in the near-Earth environment.

    Zhangheng 1 cannot be used to predict earthquakes directly, but it will help prepare the research and technologies for a ground-space earthquake monitoring and forecasting system in the future.

  • North Korea earned nearly 200 million dollars last year by exporting banned commodities: UN
    A UN report says, North Korea earned nearly 200 million dollars last year by exporting banned commodities in breach of international sanctions. The confidential report by a panel of experts said, several countries including China, Russia and Malaysia had failed to stop the illegal exports.

    It said, there is evidence of military co-operation with Syria and Myanmar. Pyongyang is subject to sanctions from the US, UN and EU over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

    But the report, which was submitted to the UN Security Council and seen by news agencies, said the North continued to export almost all the commodities prohibited in the resolutions between January and September 2017.

    The report said, several unnamed multinational oil companies are being investigated for their alleged role in supplying petroleum products to North Korea.

    It said, shipments of coal had been delivered to China, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam in breach of sanctions using a combination of multiple evasion techniques, routes and deceptive tactics.

    China's embassy in North Korea denied flouting Security Council sanctions, but said in a statement that the two neighbours had maintained normal trade exchanges.

  • On 69th Republic Day, India set new record with over 1.1 million tweets
    Current Affairs The annual Republic Day celebrations generated a record number of tweets at over 1.1 million this year. 1.1 million tweets, setting a new conversation record for Republic Day, trended number one worldwide throughout the day, compared to over 900,000 tweets celebrating the occasion in 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's greetings to his countrymen in Hindi on the occasion the Republic Day was the most liked one.

  • Union Home Ministry to set up apex cybercrime coordination centre
    Union Home Ministry is planning to set up an apex coordination centre to deal with cyber crimes such as financial frauds, circulation of communal and pornographic contents. The ministry has also asked states to establish a similar mechanism in every district.

    According to Home Ministry:
    It has released 83 crore rupees for setting up of a cyber forensic training laboratory-cum-training centre for police officials in each state

    The funds were given to the Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children Scheme

    It would coordinate with state governments and union territories, and closely monitor the cyber space and social media with due emphasis on vernacular content

    The centre would also block those websites which flout India's laws and circulate child porn, and communally and racially sensitive content

    State governments have also been asked to set up a state cybercrime coordination cell at the headquarter-level and also establish district cyber crime cells

    The ministry has already created a new wing Cyber and Information Security Division to deal with the new-age challenge

    The move came in the wake of 1 lakh 44 thousand 496 cyber security attacks observed in the country during 2014-16

  • Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh get contempt notice from Supreme Court on cow vigilantism
    Three states -- Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh -- have received contempt notice from the Supreme Court for allegedly failing to prevent incidents of cow vigilantism despite an order last year to do so. The states will have to reply to the notice by September 3. The notice from the Supreme Court came following a petition by Tushar Gandhi, who has been pursuing the matter since last year.

    It was in response to his petition that the top court, on September 6, had asked 26 states to maintain law and order and prevent violence by cow vigilantes. The states had been asked to depute nodal officers and highway patrol and keep the court informed about their progress.

    The top court also asked the Centre -- which had pleaded that law and order was a state subject -- whether under the Constitution, it had the responsibility to ask states to crack down on cow vigilantism.

    The first incident of cow vigilantism was reported from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh in 2015, in which an elderly man, Mohammad Akhlaq, was beaten to death after allegations that he had killed a cow.

    In July last year, four Dalit men were stripped, tied to a car and flogged in Gujarat. In Alwar, a 55-year-old dairy owner, Pehlu Khan, was beaten to death on suspicion of cattle smuggling. The video footage of Pehlu Khan being yanked by the neck, thrown to the ground and kicked by cow vigilantes had sparked nationwide outrage.

  • Govt launches rapid detection kits to detect adulterants in fresh fish
    Government on 30th January launched the Rapid Detection Kits to detect Adulterants in Fresh Fish. Launching the kit in New Delhi, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, the kit will help in detecting chemicals in the fish. He said continuous ingestion of ammonia and formaldehyde can lead to many health issues including abdominal pain, vomiting, unconsciousness, and sometimes even cause death.

    India’s domestic fish market is reported to be selling formaldehyde-adulterated fish, especially in markets located far away from landing centres or production sites.

    According to Indian and International regulations, the fresh fish and shellfish should be preserved only by means of ice and use of substances other than ice to maintain quality is a fraudulent practice. Mr Singh said, continuous monitoring of the contaminants in a laboratory is time-consuming and requires expertise but some people use toxic chemicals in the form of contaminated substances.

  • Allahabad High Court judge Shukla to be impeached
    Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on 30th January recommended the removal of Justice Shri Narayan Shukla, the eighth senior-most judge of the Allahabad High Court, following an adverse report about him by an in-house panel. The panel had been set up by the CJI.

    The CJI has set the process in motion with a letter to the Prime Minister for the impeachment of the judge.

    When the impeachment motion is moved in Parliament, an investigation is conducted. If the findings of guilt are confirmed, the impeachment motion will be put to vote for the removal of the judge by a majority.

    The move for a possible impeachment of Justice Shukla began with Allahabad High Chief Justice D.B. Bhosale withdrawing judicial duties from him from January 23.

    The trigger was a scathing report by the committee led by Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee. Justice Shukla joined the Allahabad High Court in 2005, and was set to retire on July 17, 2020.

    His orders in the cases of blacklisted private medical colleges in Lucknow had come under the scanner of the CJI Bench last year.

  • Rajasthan gives 1% quota to Most Backward Classes
    The Rajasthan Government has issued orders for granting 1% reservation to the Most Backward Classes, comprising Gujjars and four other nomadic communities, within the 50% ceiling mandated by the Supreme Court. The State Cabinet had approved the decision last month and sent it for the Governor's consent.

    The overall reservation in the State stood at 49% before the decision. Along with Gujjars, nomadic communities Banjara, Gadia-Lohar, Raika and Gadariya were included among the Other Backward Classes for quota in the government jobs and educational institutions.

    Though Gujjars have been demanding sub-categorisation of OBC quota for extending the benefit to them, the State government has gone ahead with its decision to create MBCs and given it the quota while not exceeding the 50% limit.

    The State Assembly had on October 26, 2017, passed a Bill creating the “most backward” category within the OBCs for Gujjars and four other nomadic communities and given 5% reservation to them, while increasing the OBC quota from 21% to 26% and taking the overall quota in the State to 54%.

    Gujjars and others were earlier grouped as a special backward class and the State government had tried thrice to grant 5% reservation to them.

  • Indian President Ram Nath Kovind approves Bill to hike judges’ salary
    Indian President Ram Nath Kovind gave his approval to a Bill that will more than double the salaries of Supreme Court and High Court judges.

    In the Winter Session of Parliament, the Bill to increase salaries of judges was passed. Now after the President's approval, the Chief Justice of India will draw a monthly salary of Rs. 2.8 lakh, up from the current Rs. 1 lakh. Other judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices of High Courts will draw a monthly salary of Rs. 2.5 lakh, a jump from the current Rs. 90,000.

  • Centre sanctions Rs 1,500 cr for organic farming in Uttarakhand
    The Centre has sanctioned Rs 1,500 crore for three years to promote organic farming in Uttarakhand. The amount was sanctioned by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh when Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat met him in New Delhi.

    This is in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of developing Uttarakhand as an organic state which he spelt out during his visit to Kedarnath last year.

    The Union minister also cleared a proposal worth Rs 2,600 crore for the co-operative sector in the state.

  • Supreme Court adopts roster system for allocation of matters to judges
    The Supreme Court on 1st February adopted a roster system for allocation of matters to judges. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra’s decision was made public on the apex court’s website. The 13-page notification said a roster of the work for fresh cases notified under the order of the Chief Justice of India will come into effect from February 5.

    The 13-page notification has given the description of matters that would be allocated to the benches headed by the CJI, justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur, Joseph, A K Sikri, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, A K Goel and R F Nariman. The names of these 12 judges are in the order of their seniority.

    The CJI has been asserting his rights as ‘master of roster’, but in a series of instances, the four other Supreme Court judges – Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – had pointed out in their letter written to him two and a half months ago, which they made public, the rostering of cases was such as to not inspire confidence in the system being fair, transparent or just.

    The four judges, who had raised concerns over the allocation of cases, are learnt to have proposed the setting up of a committee comprising judges who would be Chief Justices in the future to suggest an institutional mechanism for marking of cases as per the Roster that would be notified by the SC Registry. The SC Roster is not known to the public. Making it public has been one of the demands of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) too.

  • Supreme Court dismisses plea for declaring rape law gender-neutral
    The Supreme Court on 2nd February dismissed a plea for declaring the offences of rape, sexual assault, outraging of modesty, voyeurism and stalking in the Indian Penal Code as gender-neutral.

    The petitioner had said, the crime of rape should be gender neutral, making a woman also punishable for the offence.

    Rejecting the plea, the three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, it is an imaginative situation and Parliament can deal with it as per social needs. It also said that law is open for change by Parliament and it cannot interfere with it.

    The plea said that law cannot be discriminatory against men and that only a man can be punished for the offences of rape and sexual assault.

  • Graduates from IITs and NITs to teach in technical colleges in backward areas
    To improve the quality of education in engineering colleges, located in the backward areas of the developing States, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has selected young graduates from IITs, NITs and IIITs, who will teach in these government-run colleges.

    Under this initiative, 293 PhD and 932 Masters degree holders, who expressed interest in teaching in rural areas, have been selected as the faculty and have been sent to the 53 institutes in the backward areas.

    The faculty has been selected from 369 districts of 26 States and will be paid Rs. 70,000 per month for three years. The government would be spending a total of Rs. 375 crore for the project.

  • Indian, Vietnamese armies hold first military exercise
    Current Affairs Armies of India and Vietnam on 29th January began a six day-long military exercise in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, reflecting growing defence ties between the two countries.

    Army official said in New Delhi that the exercise, christened 'VINBAX' is the first military exercise between the two countries. India and Vietnam have been exploring ways to strengthen defence cooperation.

  • India joins Ashgabat Agreement for International Transport and Transit Corridor
    India has joined Ashgabat Agreement on the establishment of an International Transport and Transit Corridor between the Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

    The agreement was signed in April 2011, which envisages facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

    External Affairs Ministry said, the accession to the Agreement would diversify India’s connectivity options with Central Asia and have a positive influence on its trade and commercial ties with the region.

    Turkmenistan, as depository state of Ashgabat Agreement, informed India that all the four founding members have consented to the Accession of India.

    India’s accession to the agreement will come into force on 3rd of this month. India had deposited the Instrument of Accession with Turkmenistan in April 2016.

  • Inland Waterways Authority of India signs agreement with World Bank for Jal Marg Vikas Project
    Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has signed an agreement with the World Bank for Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) to enhance navigation on National Waterway-1 from Varanasi to Haldia.

    Ministry of Shipping said that the signing of the pact comes after Cabinet approved the implementation of 800 million US dollar JMVP for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1, River Ganga, from Varanasi to Haldia.

    The JMVP, which is expected to be completed by March, 2023, is being implemented with the financial and technical support of the World Bank.

    The development and operations of the National Waterway-1 project will lead to direct employment generation to the tune of 46,000 and indirect employment of 84,000 in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

  • Bhutanese consulate office opened in Guwahati
    A Bhutanese consulate office was opened in Guwahati on 2nd February. It was jointly inaugurated by Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal and the Himalayan country's Foreign Affairs Minister Lyonpo Damcho Dorji.

  • Seafood exports to cross $6 bn in current fiscal: MPEDA
    Current Affairs Stakeholders from across the Indian seafood industry were optimistic that marine products exprots would reach Rs 50,000 crore in the next few years given the current growth curve and strides made in aquaculture production.

    They were talking at the 21st edition of the three-day biennial India International Seafood Show (IISS) which opened in Margao on 28th January.

    Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who inaugurated the event, said that while the east coast, especially Andhra Pradesh, was surging ahead in culture fisheries, the west coast could enhance their contribution to exports in coordination with organisations like the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).

    He added that the country should do more to make use of the fishing potential along the underutilized but large Andaman and Nicobar coastline.

    He said that sustainable deep sea fishing should be explored and issues like seawater pollution from chemical fertilizer wash-off, over exploitation of existing fishing zones and damage to breeding grounds should be tackled.

    In 2016-17, India exported 11,34,948 million tonnes (MT) of seafood, principally frozen shrimp and frozen fish, worth 37,870.90 crore and provisional export figures for April-November 2017 have shown an increase of 18.72 per cent and 15.16 per cent respectively in quantity and value (in terms of US dollars) of seafood exports.

    The export earnings are expected to cross a high of US 6 billion dollars during the current fiscal, buoyed by aquaculture growth, enhanced processing capacity and favourable market conditions, MPEDA chairman A Jayathilak noted.

  • Indian economy to grow in the range of 7-7.5% in 2018-19: Economic Survey 2017
    The Economic Survey says the worst is over and the Indian economy is poised to rebound to grow in the range of 7-7.5% in 2018-19.

    It credits this recovery to structural policy fixes, including the decision to put in place a bankruptcy code to deal with the bad debt problem—which it believes had become a binding constraint on economic growth.

    According to the survey, demonetization of high-value currencies, together with the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST), has led to more people being brought under the tax net and the formal economy is much bigger than what it is estimated at.

    Optimistic while the survey is, it makes a case for policy vigilance to deal with downside risks stemming from rising crude oil prices and any setback to the ongoing recovery of the global economy.

    The survey, authored by a team led by chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian and presented in Parliament by finance minister Arun Jaitley on the first day of the budget session, cites high-frequency data such as exports, factory output and non-food credit growth to up the growth estimate for 2017-18 to 6.75% from 6.5% projected by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

    Given real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6% in the first half (April-September) of 2017-18, this implies that growth in the second half (October-March) would rebound to 7.5% in the fourth quarter (January-March).

    The statistics department will release the third quarter GDP data on 28 February.

    Setting the reform agenda for the next financial year, the Survey makes a case for shrinking unviable public sector banks, privatizing Air India, facilitating easier GST compliance and decisively resolving bankruptcy cases.

    The survey acknowledged the electoral pressures on a government in the final year of its term, and batted for less aggressive fiscal consolidation.

    It said setting overly ambitious targets for consolidation—especially in a pre-election year—based on optimistic forecasts that carry a high risk of not being realized will not garner credibility.

    Jaitley has set a fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of GDP for 2017-18 and aims to lower it to 3% in 2018-19. However, less-than-expected revenue collections, especially after implementation of GST, and higher expenditure could generate fiscal pressures.

    The survey foresees higher-than-expected inflation in the second half of the current fiscal and projects a nominal GDP growth rate of 10.5% against 9.5% estimated by CSO. This could help the finance minister contain the fiscal slippage in 2017-18.

  • Implementing GST helped: Arvind Subramanian
    Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian 29th January said implementing GST and responding quickly to transitional challenges are among the major achievements of the government in the past year.

    He said there has been an increase in new tax filers of about 18 lakh and some boost to individual income tax collections post-demonetization and GST.

    The Chief Economic Adviser listed providing support to agriculture, stabilizing GST, privatizing Air-India among the policy agenda for the coming year.

    The Survey also expressed concern over air pollution in Delhi with the onset of winter due to various factors and suggested coordination between agencies and Central and State Governments to address each source problem systematically.

    The pink cover of this year's Economic Survey was chosen as a symbol of support for ending violence against women.

    It recommended that India must confront the societal meta-preference for a son, and observed that the adverse sex ratio of females to males has led to 63 million 'missing' women.

    Low tax collection at panchayats:
    Tax collections at panchayat level are extremely low, which is posing a challenge to fiscal federalism and accountability, the Economic Survey said.

    Low level of tax collections by local governments in rural areas is posing challenge in reconciling fiscal federalism and accountability, the Economic Survey 2017-18 tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament said.

    Panchayats received 95 per cent of their revenues from the devolved funds from the centre/state, while generating only 5 per cent from own resources, it said.

  • India ranks sixth in the list of wealthiest countries
    India has been ranked sixth in the list of wealthiest countries with total wealth of 8,230 billion US dollars, while the United States topped the chart. According to a report by New World Wealth, India was the best performing wealth market globally in 2017 as its total wealth swelled from 6,584 billion dollars in 2016 to 8,230 billion dollars in 2017, registering a 25 per cent growth.

    The report noted that the United States is the wealthiest country in the world as the total wealth held in 2017 amounted to 64,584 billion dollars, followed by China at the second place with 24,803 billion dollars and Japan with 19,522 billion dollars at third.

    Total wealth, refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country. It includes all their assets. The report, however, excludes government funds from its figures.

  • Govt signs $250mn Loan Agreement with ADB to improve rural connectivity under PMGSY
    The Asian Development Bank and the Centre on 30th January signed a 250 million dollar loan to finance the construction of over 6 thousand 2 hundred kilometres all-weather rural roads in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, PMGSY.

    The program is aimed at improving rural connectivity, facilitating safer and more efficient access to livelihood and socio-economic opportunities for rural communities through improvements to about 12 thousand kilometres Rural Roads across the 5 States.

  • India-US trade estimated to touch $140 bn in 2017, says USISPF survey
    Trade between India and the US is estimated to have jumped substantially from $118 billion in 2016 to $140 billion in 2017, according to an advocacy group that aims to promote bilateral trade. In 2016, India was the ninth largest trading partner of the US and one of the major countries with which America has had trade deficit of more than $30 billion.

    This is expected to continue in 2017 as well, an issue which has repeatedly been raised by President Donald Trump and his top officials in their interaction with their Indian counterpart.

    According to US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) in 2017 India's trade (with the US) has gone up from $118 billion (the previous year) to $140

    Official figures of annual bilateral trade are yet to come, but the USISPF estimates are based on its own research and surveys.

    India, last year bought $2 billion worth of energy from the US. India spends roughly $80 billion dollars acquiring energy.

    Science and Technology:
  • Environment Minister Harshvardhan launches PetaFlop super computer
    Current Affairs Environment Minister Harshvardhan on 30th January launched a 2.8 PetaFlops capacity high-performance computer system 'Mihir' in NOIDA. The system will be able to predict weather and climate accurately. With the launch of the system, India has joined the elite 30 member group of countries which have this advanced technology.

  • Indian Navy launches third Scorpene class submarine INS Karanj
    The Indian Navy on 31st February launched the third Scorpene-class submarine Karanj at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited in Mumbai. A total six submarines are going to be built at the MDL. The submarines are being built in collaboration with French shipbuilding major Naval Group.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has last month commissioned the first of the six Scorpene-class submarine Kalvari into the Indian Navy and said its induction was a big step in the country's defence preparedness.

  • Economic Survey expresses concern over air pollution in Delhi
    Current Affairs The Economic Survey has expressed concern over air pollution in Delhi with the onset of winter due to various factor.

    It has ascribed four main reasons for Delhi’s worsening air quality - crop residue, biomass burning, vehicular emissions and re-distributed road dust, industries, power plants and winter temperature inversion, humidity and absence of wind.

    It has suggested coordination between agencies and Central and State Governments and sustained civic engagement to address each source problem systematically.

    The Survey said, the short-term emergency plan is to be implemented when 24-hourly PM 2.5 exceeds 300 to 400 micro-gram per cubic metre, including imposing heavy penalties on burning of agricultural waste, using satellite-based tools to detect fires, payment of incentives to farmers.

    The medium and long-range actions include implementing congestion pricing for vehicles, improving public transport system and expanding modernized bus fleets, phasing out old vehicles and accelerating BS-VI.

    The Survey also suggest the use of technology to convert agricultural waste into usable fodder or bio-fuels and provide incentives to shift to non-paddy crops.

  • Australian Open: Roger Federer wins Men's Singles title defeating Marin Cilic of Croatia
    Current Affairs In Tennis, World Number Two Roger Federer has retained his Men's Singles title at the Australian Open. In the summit clash in Melbourne on 28th January, he defeated sixth seed Marin Cilic of Croatia.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches Khelo India School Games
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that sports should occupy a central place in the lives of the youth of the country as it is an important means of personality development.

    Launching the first Khelo India School Games in New Delhi on 31st January, Mr Modi said, India does not lack sporting talent and the youthful nation can do even better.

    Anu Kumar of Uttarakhand grabbed the first gold medal of the Khelo India School Games in 1500 metres at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Tamil Nadu athletes won two of the six gold medals on the opening day of the games.

    The rest were shared between Uttarakhand, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Union Sports Ministry communication said that Anu Kumar is a past 800-metres silver medalist for India at the World School Games in France. He won the 1500-metres final comfortably in 4 minutes and 4 seconds.

    In the girls category, C Chanthini of Kerala won the gold medal in 1500-metres run. Abhishek Singh of Uttar Pradesh won the Shot Put with an excellent throw of 18.73 metres while Praveen of Tamil Nadu won the triple jump in his sixth attempt with 15.22 metres. Haryana girl Pooja excelled in the Shot Put and won the gold with a best of 13.88 metres.

  • Mary Kom wins gold at India Open boxing
    In Boxing, five-time world champion M C Mary Kom claimed a gold but the Indian men's juggernaut was denied a complete sweep by traditional powerhouses Cuba and Uzbekistan on an exciting final day of the India Open Boxing Tournament, in New Delhi on 1st February.

    Mary Kom won against Filipino Josie Gabuco en route to her gold in the 48 kilogram class among women. In 64 kilogram category, Pwilao Basumatary was the first among the women to fetch a gold.

    In the 60 kilogram category, National Champion Manish Kaushik who stunned world and Asian medalist Shiva Thapa, didn't have to step inside the ring to collect his gold. He was given a walkover by his Mongolian rival Battumur Misheelt, who pulled out owing to an injury during his semifinal bout.

    Asian Games bronze-medalist Satish Kumar, however, settled for silver in +91 kilogram category, outwitted by Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in a split 4-1 decision. Dinesh Dagar took the welterweight silver after going down to Uzbekistan's Bobo-Usmon Baturov.

  • Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has won the US Documentary Grand Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival
    Current Affairs A film on the life of Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has won the US Documentary Grand Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival being held at Park City in Utah. The documentary, titled 'Kailash' has been directed by debutante Derek Doneen. It traces the journey of Satyarthi and his efforts to eliminate child trafficking and child labour. The film has been produced by Davis Guggenheim and Sarah Anthony, and co-produced by Purnima Raghunath.

  • V. Shantaram lifetime achievement award to Shyam Benegal
    Mumbai International Film Festival committee has decided to bestow V. Shantaram lifetime achievement Award to veteran film producer and director Shyam Benegal. Benegal has been selected for his contribution to the promotion of the documentary movement. The credit of Introducing experimental parallel films in India goes to him. He has made 28 great films like Ankur, Mandi, Bhumika and Manthan. Besides that, he has made 41 documentary films on various social topics.

    Shyam Benegal's work on television consists of several popular series including the 53 part series ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ first broadcast on Doordarshan in 1988.

    He also made the much acclaimed 'Samvidhaan - The Making of the Constitution of India". He is the recipient of the national award in 1982 for the film 'Satyajit Ray'.The Government of India has honored him with Padmashree, Padma-Bhushan and Dada Saheb Phalke award earlier.

    Persons in News
  • Current AffairsKeshav Gokhale: Senior diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale on 29th January took charge as the Foreign Secretary. Mr Gokhale, an Officer of 1981 batch Indian Foreign Service was serving as the Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs prior to his new assignment as Foreign Secretary. He will have a two-year tenure. He succeeded S Jaishankar who was given one-year extension in January last year.

    Mr Gokhale had played a key role in negotiations to resolve the Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese armies last year. He also served as India's Ambassador to China, Germany and worked in Indian missions in Hong Kong, Hanoi and in New York.

  • Narendra Modi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched a book 'Exam Warriors' in New Delhi penned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The book aims to instill confidence in the students and prepare them to face the difficult moments during examinations and life. Mr Modi decided to write the book after receiving a good response to his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' addresses on All India Radio in which he focused on bursting stress during exams.
Published on 2/8/2018 12:34:00 PM
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