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Daily Current Affairs : 9-Jan-2020

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Part of GS- 3 Defence & Security

Why in news? The Centre has issued revised guidelines for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with other nations as part of the government's policy of zero tolerance for crime and its endeavour to fast track the dispensation of justice.


• India has Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, MLAT with 42 countries and is signatory to various International Conventions for cooperation in criminal matters.

Home Ministry is the designated central authority for the country.

• Under the MLAT, a country can request for obtaining evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions.

• The evidence includes witness statements or the service of documents among others.

• Home Ministry said, by incorporating various legal and technological developments in recent years, it aims to make the documentation more compliant with international requirements.

• The revised guidelines provide step-by-step guidance to the investigation agencies for drafting and processing letters rogatory or mutual legal assistance requests and service of summons, notices and other judicial documents.

• The guidelines have taken into account the concerns raised by various courts for prompt and timely responses in service of documents to person residing abroad.

• These revised guidelines have provision for service of documents to authorities of foreign country preferably within ten days of receipt of request in respect of offences committed against women and children.

Source : All India Radio



Part of GS- 3 Environment

Why in news?

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the new Wetland Conservation Rules which prohibit setting up or expansion of industries and disposal of construction and demolition waste within the wetlands.


• A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem.

• The Centre had in September 2019, identified 130 wetlands for priority restoration in the next five years.

• The highest number of such identified wetlands are in Uttar Pradesh (16) followed by Madhya Pradesh (13), Jammu & Kashmir (12), Gujarat (8), Karnataka (7) and West Bengal (6).

• The Ministry has said that each state and Union Territory will have to set up an authority that will define strategies for conservation and wise use of wetlands within their jurisdiction.

• The Authority will prepare a list of all wetlands of the State or UT within three months from the date of publication of these rules.

• It will develop a comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted within the notified wetlands and their zone of influence.

• It will also recommend mechanisms for maintenance of ecological character through promotional activities for land within the boundary of notified wetlands.

• The Ministry has also created a web portal for sharing information regarding the implementation of Wetlands Rules where the central government, state governments are required to upload all relevant information and documents pertaining to wetlands in their jurisdiction.

Source : All India Radio



Part of GS- 1 History

Why in news?

The Uttar Pradesh cabinet approved a proposal to set aside Rs 234 crore for a zoological garden spread across 121 acres in Gorakhpur, to be named after the freedom fighter and revolutionary Shaheed Ashfaqullah Khan.


• Khan was a freedom fighter who, along with Ram Prasad Bismil, was sentenced to death for the Kakori train robbery, commonly referred to as the Kakori conspiracy of 1925.

Who was Ashfaqullah Khan?

• Khan was born on October 22, 1900, in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

• He grew up at a time when Mahatma Gandhi had launched the non-cooperation movement and urged Indians not to pay taxes to the government or co-operate with the British.

• Within about 1.5 years of the movement’s launch, in February 1922, the Chauri Chaura incident took place in Gorakhpur — a large number of non-cooperation protestors clashed with the police and set the police station on fire, killing roughly 22 policemen. Opposed to violence, Gandhi called off the movement.

In the mid-1920s, Ashfaqulla Khan and Ram Prasad Bismil went on to found the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), with the aim of winning freedom for the country through an armed revolution.

• HSRA published its manifesto titled “The Revolutionary” in 1925.

Source : Indian Express



Part of GS- North-East

Why in news?

The Government has approved the Viability Gap Funding, VGF of 5 thousand, 559 crore rupees to Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited to build Natural Gas Pipeline Grid covering 8 North Eastern states.


• Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA approved the capital grant in New Delhi. This is second such funding by the government for gas pipeline project.

• The total cost of the grid is 9 thousand 256 crore rupees and sanctioned VGF amount will cover 60 per cent cost of the project.

The 1,656-km pipeline will connect Guwahati in Assam to major cities in the region such as Itanagar, Dimapur, Kohima, Imphal, Aizawl and Agartala.

Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited (IGGL), a joint venture company of five CPSEs (IOCL, ONGC, GAIL, OIL and NRL) has been incorporated on 10.08.2018 to develop and operate Natural gas pipeline grid in North-East region.

• Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, the project is critical towards implementing the government's Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for the North-East. The Gas Pipeline Grid would be developed in all the eight states of North-Eastern region.

The Capital Grant will provide natural gas supplies to various types of consumers and would help in substituting the liquid fuels. The government said that the pipeline grid would ensure reliability and uninterrupted natural gas supplies to the consumers which otherwise gets severely affected due to various reasons in this part of the country.

• The CCEA also gave in principle approval to sell equity held by four Central Public Sector Enterprises and two state PSUs in Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited-NINL.

It approved strategic disinvestment of 49.78 per cent equity shareholding of Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation MMTC Limited and 10.10 per cent of National Mineral Development Corporation.

• The CCEA, gave approval for strategic disinvestment of point 68 per cent of MECON and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited each.

Source : All India Radio



Part of GS- 3 Science & Tech

Why in news?

NASA reported the discovery of an Earth-size planet, named TOI 700 d, orbiting its star in the “habitable zone”.


A habitable zone, also called the “Goldilocks zone”, is the area around a star where it is not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on the surface of surrounding planets.

• Obviously, our Earth is in the Sun’s Goldilocks zone. If Earth were where the dwarf planet Pluto is, all its water would freeze; on the other hand, if Earth were where Mercury is, all its water would boil off.

Life on Earth started in water, and water is a necessary ingredient for life as we know it. So, when scientists search for the possibility of alien life, any rocky exoplanet in the habitable zone of its star is an exciting find.

• The newest such planet was found by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission, which it launched in 2018.

• Very few such Earth-size planets have been found so far, including some by NASA’s Kepler mission, and this one is the first such discovery by TESS.

• The find was confirmed by the Spitzer Space Telescope, which sharpened the measurements that TESS had made, such as orbital period and size.

TOI 700 d measures 20% larger than Earth. It orbits its star once every 37 days and receives an amount of energy that is equivalent to 86% of the energy that the Sun provides to Earth.

• The star, TOI 700, is an “M dwarf” located just over 100 light-years away in the southern constellation Dorado, is roughly 40% of our Sun’s mass and size, and has about half its surface temperature.

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• Two other planets orbit the star — TOI 700 b, which is almost exactly Earth-size, probably rocky, and which completes an orbit every 10 days, and TOI 700 c, the middle planet, which is 2.6 times larger than Earth, is probably gas-dominated, and orbits every 16 days.

• TOI 700 d is the outermost planet, and the only one in the star’s habitable zone. NASA said future missions may be able to identify whether the planets have atmospheres and, if so, even determine their compositions.

Source : Indian Express



Part of GS- 3 Economy

Why in news?

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given in-principle approval for the sale of equity held by four Central Public Sector Enterprises and two-state PSUs in Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited (NINL), Odisha.


• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the strategic disinvestment of equity shareholding of Minerals & Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), MECON, Bharat Heavy Electricals (Bhel) and two Odisha state government PSUs in Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited (NINL) to a strategic buyer.

• The buyer is to be identified through a two-stage auction procedure.

• NINL is a joint venture company, in which four central public sector enterprises MMTC, NMDC, Bhel and MECON, and two Odisha state government PSUs - IPICOL and OMC - are shareholders.

• The proposed strategic disinvestment of NINL would unlock resources to be used to finance the social sector and developmental programmes of the government.

Source : Times of India



Part of GS- Health

Why in news?

Institutions at Gujarat Ayurved University to get status of Institution of National Importance The Cabinet today approved conferring the status of Institution of National Importance to a cluster of Ayurvedic institutions at Gujarat Ayurved University campus in Jamnagar.


• Briefing reporters in New Delhi after the cabinet meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said, the elevation of the status of institution will provide it with the autonomy to upgrade the standard of Ayurveda education, frame various courses in Ayurveda as per national and international demand.

• He said, it will help the institute to develop tertiary care in Ayurveda and to secure inter- disciplinary collaborations to give a contemporary thrust to Ayurveda.

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• Considering the rapidly growing role of AYUSH Systems in addressing the Public Health challenges of India, conferring the status of National Importance will boost the role and importance of Ayurveda in Public Health.

• The strengthening of Ayurveda will reduce government expenditure on health as Ayurveda is cost-effective because of its preventive and curative approaches.

• A bill to that effect will be introduced in the ensuing Session of Parliament.

• The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Jamnagar is being formed by conglomerating the cluster of Ayurveda Institutes at Gujarat Ayurveda University campus, Jamnagar , namely, 1. Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, 2. Shri Gulabkunwerba Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya and 3. Institute of Ayurveda Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Source: AIR



Part of GS- 2 International

Why in news?

The Cabinet approved the ratification of migration and mobility partnership agreement between India and France.


• The agreement signed in March 2018 is valid for 7 years and incorporates provisions for auto-renewal and a monitoring mechanism through a Joint Working Group.

• The Agreement represents a major milestone in enhancing people-to-people contacts, fostering mobility of students, academics, researchers and skilled professionals and strengthening cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides.

• The Agreement is a testimony to India's rapidly expanding multi-faceted relationship with France and symbolizes the increasing trust and confidence between the two sides.

Source : Business Standard



Part of GS- Health

Why in news?

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post-facto approval on the MOU signed in November, 2019 between Department of Health & Family Welfare (DOHFW), Government of India and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) on cooperation in the field of Health.


Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by parasites of the Leishmania type.

• It is spread by the bite of certain types of sandflies.

• The disease can manifest in three ways: (1) Cutaneous, (2) mucocutaneous And (3) Visceral.

Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is also known as kala-azar, black fever, and Dumdum fever.

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• The parasite is spread to humans by bites from infected female sand flies.

• It attacks the immune system, and is almost always fatal if not treated. The MOU covers the following areas of cooperation:

To reduce maternal, neonatal and child morbidity and mortality, improve key nutrition outcomes, by improving the reach, coverage and quality of essential primary health, immunization and nutrition services.

• To increase the basket of choice and quality for family planning methods, specially for reversible methods, and increase access amongst younger women.

• To reduce the burden of select infectious diseases [TB, Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), Lymphatic Filariasis (LF)].

• To strengthen health systems, including aspects such as budget utilization, management and skills of human resources for health, digital health, strengthening supply chains and monitoring systems.

Source : The Hindu



Part of GS- 1 Art & Culture

Why in news?

The Epiphany festival was celebrated in parts of India, such as Goa and Kerala. In Goa, the celebration is known by its Portuguese name ‘Festa dos Reis’, and in parts of Kerala by its Syriac name ‘Denha’.


• Epiphany is among the three oldest and major festival days in Christianity, the two others being Christmas and Easter.

• It is celebrated on January 6 by a number of Christian sects, including Roman Catholics, and on January 19 by some Eastern Orthodox churches.

• According to Christian belief, the Magi — Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar (or Casper), the kings of Arabia, Persia, and India, respectively — followed a miraculous guiding star to Bethlehem, where they paid homage to the Infant Jesus.

• The day also commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

• In the West, the duration between December 25 and January 6 is known as the Twelve Days of Christmas.

• Epiphany is a feast day, or a day of commemoration, which in Christianity marks the visit of the Magi (meaning the Three Wise Men or Three Kings) to the Infant Jesus (Christ from his nativity until age 12).

Source : Indian Express

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