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22 to 26 January 2020 - Current Affairs

International :
  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou jointly inaugurated the first convention centre "Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre (MGICC) established in Africa by India on January 22, 2020. It is the first centre to be established in Africa by India to honour the memory of Mahatma Gandhi whose 150th Birth Anniversary was observed last year. The convention centre has been designed as a spacious, modern and eco-friendly facility, including a 2,000 capacity Plenary Hall, to witness high-level and wide-ranging participation from African Union member states and other high-level conventions. India has provided Lines of Credit to Niger for projects in transport, electrification, solar energy and potable drinking water.

  • Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launches e-passport facility in Dhaka, Bangladesh on January 22, 2020. The e-passports will have an embedded chip in them which will contain the bio-metric data of the passport holder, photograph and other information contained in the passport. It will also include digital security features in it. 

    Bangladesh has faced the problem of counterfeit passports in the past. Introduction of the e-passport will help control the fake passports in the country. Government hopes that the e-passports will increase the acceptability of the Bangladeshi passports across the world and it will also ease immigration process globally. Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia and 119th country in the wold to provide e-passport facility. According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), over 490 million e-Passports are in circulation in the world.

  • Bangladesh has improved its ranking by 8 points in the EIU Democracy Index released on January 22, 2020. The country has been ranked at 80th position with an overall score of 5.88 on a scale of 10 this year compared to 88th position in 2018. It scored 7.83 in terms of electoral process and pluralism and 4.38 on the political culture sub-index. India ranked 51st and has dropped 10 places in the Democracy Index’s global ranking.

    Norway is at the top with an overall score of 9.71 while North Korea is at the bottom of the index. Overall, 2019 marked the worst year of global democracy score since 2006 when the rankings were first published. However, Bangladesh continues to be placed in the category of hybrid democracies. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) methodology hybrid regimes are marked by substantial electoral irregularities and government pressure on opposition parties. 

    The EIU Democracy Index provides ranking for the state of democracy worldwide in 165 independent states and two territories.The Index measures score under five sub-categories namely electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government; political participation, political culture; and civil liberties. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s measure of democracy, almost one-half of the world’s population live in a democracy of some sort, although only 5.7% reside in a full democracy.More than one-third of the world’s population live under authoritarian rule, with a large share being in China.

  • India on January 23, 2020 supplied 30,000 doses of Measles and Rubella (MR) vaccine to the Maldives responding swiftly to an emergency request to contain the measles outbreak in the Maldives. The vaccine supply was quickly procured and delivered to Maldives Health Ministry within 72 hours of the request.

  • The Charge d’ Affairs of Embassy of India in Nepal, Dr. Ajay Kumar ceremonially inaugurated new building of Aurobindo Ashram School in Thankot, Kathmandu on January 23, 2020. The new infrastructure is constructed with the Government of India’s grant assistance of 28.25 million Nepali rupees. The three story building comprises eleven class rooms, three labs, four store rooms, two staff rooms. Besides rooms for accounts, administration, record, library and principal, it also has examination and multi-purpose hall. 

    Aurobindo Ashram School was established in 1993 by Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir in Thankot area of Kathmandu district. This is a residential School which provides Secondary School Education to nearly 260 students. The school has over 53% of girls students. Most of the students are poor, destitute and orphan. The School is providing free education and hostel facility to them. Aurobindo Ashram School was established in 1993 by Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir in Thankot area of Kathmandu district. This is a residential School which provides Secondary School Education to nearly 260 students. The school has over 53% of girls students. Most of the students are poor, destitute and orphan. The School is providing free education and hostel facility to them.

  • North Korea to attend Munich Security Conference (MSC) for first time. North Korea will send a delegation to the Munich Security Conference for the first time in the 56-year history of the top diplomatic gathering. A MSC Spokesperson confirmed that North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Son Gyong would attend next month's event. Founded in 1963, the Munich Security Conference hosts hundreds of high-ranking officials and dozens of world leaders each year to discuss security challenges. The 2020 edition will be held from February 14 to 16.

  • The 13th edition of the International Children’s Film Festival of Bangladesh was inaugurated on January 24, 2020, in Dhaka. The festival is one of the biggest film events in Bangladesh. It is the only international film festival for children and young adults of the country. The festival organized by the Children’s Film Society, Bangladesh will feature 173 films from 39 countries including Bangladesh, India, France, Korea, Spain and others.

National :
  • For the first in the country, Maharashtra Police would be organising an international marathon in Mumbai on February 9. Around 15,000 runners are expected to take part in the marathon. Maharashtra Director General of Police Subodh Kumar Jaiswal informed that the marathon would act as a bridge between people and the police and increase communication between them. The marathon will start from the iconic Gateway of India in south Mumbai and pass through the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, another city landmark. The theme of the marathon would be "Health Run".

  • Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed a bill proposing three capitals, Legislative, Executive and Judicial for the state. The Assembly passed the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill. Visakhapatnam is proposed to be the Executive capital, Amaravati Legislative capital and Kurnool will be the Judicial capital. The Bill also provides for dividing the State into various zones. It seeks to establish zonal planning and development boards.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the 32nd interaction through PRAGATI- the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation in New Delhi on January 22, 2020. Prime Minister had launched the multi-purpose and multi-modal governance platform PRAGATI on 25th March 2015. PRAGATI is an integrating and interactive platform aimed at addressing the common man’s grievances. PRAGATI also helps in simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Centre as well as projects flagged by various State governments.

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on January 22, 2020 approved shutting down the operations of the plant and unit of Hindustan Fluorocarbons Limited, HFL and closure of the company. HFL is a Central Public Sector Enterprise under Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals. HFL has only one plant located at Rudraram, District Sangareddy in Telangana. Government granted a interest free loan of over 77 crore rupees to HFL for expenditure exclusively on closure.

  • Union Cabinet on January 22, 2020 approved to Revised Cost Estimates for establishment of permanent campuses of new National Institutes of Technology, NITs, at a total cost of 4371.90 crore rupees for the period till 2021-2022. NITs were established in the year 2009 and started functioning from academic year 2010-2011 in their temporary campus with very limited space and infrastructure. These NITs will be fully functional from their permanent campuses by 31st March, 2022. It also approved the extension of tenure of the Commission constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution, to examine the issue of sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes in the Central List.

  • Election Commission will host the first Sukumar Sen Memorial Lecture on January 23, 2020. Former President Pranab Mukherjee will deliver the first of the Lectures. The EC has decided to institute an Annual Lecture Series as a tribute to the first Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sukumar Sen. He commendably conducted the first two General Elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies, thereby putting India firmly on the map of democracy. The rationale behind instituting the lecture is to make a positive and constructive intervention in the democratic discourse of the nation within the constitutional mandate of the EC. 

    Sukumar Sen was born on 2nd January, 1898. He was educated at Presidency College, Kolkata and University College, London. He joined the Indian Civil Services in 1922. During his service, he held several important posts, including as Chief Secretary of West Bengal. He served as the first Chief Election Commissioner of India from 21st March 1950 till his retirement in 19th December, 1958. He conducted the first two Lok Sabha elections of India held in 1952 and 1957 with the Legislative Assembly Elections based on universal adult franchise under challenging circumstances and little precedence to guide him.

  • Election Commission of India will host the 10th Annual Meeting of the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) in New Delhi on January 24, 2020. Election Commission of India will take over the Chair of the forum for the year 2020. On the occasion, International Conference on the theme ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity’ is also being organized. ECI will also renew Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of election management with the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan. 

    The International Conference is being organized with the purpose of sharing the experience of different Election Management Bodies, International Institutions and Experts. The international delegates will also attend the National Voters’ Day Celebrations in New Delhi on 25th of January. The International Conference is being organized with the purpose of sharing the experience of different Election Management Bodies, International Institutions and Experts.

  • Indian government has launched a 24x7 helpline number to provide support regarding queries on novel coronavirus. The NCDC call centre, 91-11-23978046, has been made operational under directions of Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

  • The Cabinet gave approval to Election Commission of India to enter into MoU with the Independent High Authority for Elections of Tunisia and the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission for elections for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration. The Cabinet also gave its nod for the four agreements between India and Brazil in the field of oil and natural gas, Geology and Mineral Resources, mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and cooperation in the field of early childhood care.

  • Bharat Parv 2020, the programme to celebrate the spirit of India, began at Red Fort ground in New Delhi on January 26, 2020. It will continue till 1st of February. The objective of Bharat Parv is to encourage people to visit different tourism places of the country and to inculcate the spirit of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’. Tourism Ministry has said that the theme of this year’s Bharat Parv is 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' and 'Celebrating 150 Years of Mahatma Gandhi'. Bharat Parv have many attractions for public including display of Tableaux of the Republic Day parade, performance by armed forces bands.

  • The Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government on January 26 launched its much-awaited 'Shiv Bhojan' scheme, which is aimed at providing a meal to the poor for just 10 rupees, on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day.

Bilateral :
  • India will host the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of Government meeting later this year. The meeting is held annually at the Prime Minister's level and it discusses the SCO's programme and multilateral economic and trade co-operation. External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Raveesh Kumar said, all eight members and four observer states and other international dialogue partners will be invited for the meeting. SCO member states are Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazhakstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Observer states are Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia and Belarus.

  • Japan Ambassador calls on Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, discusses about Japanese investment in North-East. A delegation led by Japan Ambassador, Satoshi Suzuki called on Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh in New Delhi on January 22, 2020. During the meeting, various issues related to mutual collaboration and cooperation between the two countries were discussed.
    1.) There is huge Japanese investment in infrastructure projects in the North Eastern region of the country. The upgradation of Aizwal- Tuipang Section of NH 54 with a length of 372 km is being done with Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA assistance at a cost of over Rs.6100 crore. This road would provide seamless connectivity to Sittwe port in Mayanmar as part of Government’s Act East Policy.
    2.) In the area of forest management, there is Japanese collaboration with the states of Tripura, Sikkim and Nagaland and soon there will be collaboration with the state of Meghalaya in this field.
    3.) Among other issues, mutual collaboration in the areas of bamboo, disaster management, road infrastructure and Guwahati Sewerage project, was also discussed.

  • India and Tunisia focus on expanding bilateral economic ties, to work closely in multilateral forums. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Tunisian counterpart Sabri Bachtobji on January 22, 2020, during which the two leaders focused on expanding the bilateral economic cooperation and agreed to work closely in multilateral forums. Dr Jaishankar arrived in Tunis on the concluding leg of his three-day two-nation trip to Niger and Tunisia. 

    The tour is his first outreach to the African continent after becoming the Foreign Minister last year. Later, Dr Jaishankar met Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi and discussed on expanding exchanges, especially between Parliamentary institutions and civil society, between the two countries. Dr Jaishankar also met President Kais Saied and the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a fair, just and a rule-based global order.

  • India and Bangladesh signed an agreement on January 24, 2020 to upgrade the 50.58-kilometre long road between Ashuganj river port and the Akhaura land port in Bangladesh into a 4-lane highway. The deal to upgrade the 39 km long road between Ashuganj river port to Dharhar area was signed between the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) of Bangladesh and an Indian Company Afcons Infrastructure Limited. The RHD and an India-Bangladesh joint venture firm will take up the work of upgrading the remaining part of the road from Dharhar to Akhaura. 

    The project is part of the dollar 2 billion second line of credit extended by India to Bangladesh in 2016. The project will boost connectivity between Bangladesh and North-eastern part of India which will facilitate sub-regional connectivity among South and South-east Asian countries.

  • A Ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between India and China was conducted on the occasion of Chinese Spring Festival on January 24, 2020 at Chinese BPM Huts at Daulat Beg Oldie -Tien Wien Dien (DBO-TWD) Meeting points, the northern-most meeting point between armies of both countries on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. The Indian delegation was led by Lt. Col. Amit Kumar Sharma and Chinese Delegation was led by Lt. Col. Lee Ming Ju. Both the delegations interacted in a free, congenial and cordial environment. The meeting reflected the mutual desire to maintain and improve relations at the functional level in the border areas. A cultural programme showcasing Chinese culture and traditions was organized by the Chinese side. The delegations parted amidst a feeling of friendship and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and trust along the borders.

  • India and Brazil inked 15 agreements to boost cooperation in a wide range of areas like trade and investment, oil and gas, cyber security and information technology on January 25, 2020. The agreements were exchanged after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi said an action plan has been finalised to further expand ties between the two strategic partners. He said Mr Bolsonaro's visit to India has opened a new chapter in bilateral ties between the two countries. Calling Brazil a valuable partner in India's economic growth, the Prime Minister also said both the countries are together on various global issues despite geographical distance. The Brazilian President in his statement said the two countries have further consolidated already strong ties by signing 15 agreements providing for cooperation in a range of areas.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu had a telephonic conversation on January 25, 2020. During the conversation both leaders discussed global and regional matters of mutual interest and agreed to remain in touch for forthcoming initiatives and developments. Mr Netanyahu telephoned Mr Modi to greet him and the people of India for Republic Day. 

    The two leaders underscored the significance of the strategic partnership between the two countries and expressed happiness over the growth of cooperation between India and Israel in all spheres. They also welcomed efforts to facilitate air connectivity between the two countries. Mr Modi stressed on the significance of initiatives in the areas of agriculture, water and start-ups. Mr Modi and Mr Netanyahu also exchanged greetings and good wishes for the year 2020.

  • Israel officially gave its citizens the right to travel to Saudi Arabia for religious and business visits, in the latest sign of warming ties between the two countries on 26th January. The interior ministry's announcement will have limited practical impact, as Israelis had previously been travelling to Saudi Arabia via third countries, especially Jordan. But Israel had never granted official approval for such travel by its citizens. 

    Interior Minister Aryeh Deri signed for the first time an order enabling an exit permit for Israelis to Saudi Arabia. In a statement, the ministry said, the move, coordinated with the security and diplomatic services, approves travel to the Gulf state for religious purposes during the hajj and the Umrah. It said, Israel would also allow its citizens to travel to Saudi Arabia to participate in business meetings or seek investments for trips not exceeding 90 days.

Economy :
  • China registered 6.1 per cent GDP last year, which is the slowest pace of growth for the country in almost three decades. The government said, sluggish domestic demand and the bruising 18-month trade war with the US has seriously impacted the economy. The new GDP data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) comes a day after China and the US signed a long-awaited phase one deal. In 2018, China's economy sank to a 28-year low slowing down to 6.6 per cent, lower than the 6.8-per cent growth registered in 2017. After signing the phase one deal, US President Donald Trump said 25 per cent tariff hike on 360 billion US Dollar worth of Chinese products would continue until the phase-2 deal is worked out. China aims to double the per capita income of its urban and rural residents from 2010 levels By 2020.

  • The 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, a congregation of rich and powerful from across the world, opens in Davos, Switzerland on 21 January 2020. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal will lead the Indian delegation to the WEF. Besides, over 100 CEOs, political leaders including Union Ministers and Chief Ministers will take part in the 50th edition of the annual event. WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said in his welcome message last night that he is proud to have created a community of some great people, including young leaders, through this platform. 

    The welcome message was followed by the annual crystal awards and this year's recipients included celebrity film star Deepika Padukone. The awards are given to cultural leaders, who are improving the state of the world through their contributions to inclusive and sustainable change. Receiving the award, Padukone said that people must understand depression and anxiety are like any other illness and can be treated and her own experience has encouraged her to work for this cause. 

    This year's programme focuses on achieving maximum impact on the Forum's platform for public-private cooperation across six core areas of activity: ecology, economy, society, industry, technology, and geopolitics. Among the initiatives to be launched at the annual meeting is one that aims to plant one trillion trees over the next decade and to equip one billion people with the necessary skills in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Business :
  • In Gujarat, the first edition of Krishi Manthan- the largest Food, Agri-business and Rural Development Summit of Asia organized by Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad began on January 16, 2020. More than 1,500 delegates including students and academicians are participating in the two-day event organized by the Food and Agribusiness Committee of IIMA.

Science & Technology :
  • Bengaluru will have India’s first space flight training simulator centre and astronauts training centre before the country embarks upon manned mission to outer space by 2022. Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman Dr K Sivan said this during the inauguration of a three-day international symposium on Human spaceflight and exploration held in Bengaluru on January 22, 2020. Speaking about Gaganyaan, India’s first manned mission to outer space, he said, essential critical technology needed for the mission is developed by ISRO and is now working on ground systems, life support systems and life sciences relevant for outer space. ISRO will conduct two unmanned missions in December this year and June next year to test all these critical technologies using humanoids. 

    The crew capsule prepared by ISRO is capable of taking three astronauts to outer space for seven days and bring them back. Speaking on the occasion, the Principle Scientific advisor to Government of India Prof. K Vijaya Raghavan said Indian space programme has social relevance and Indian astronauts going to outer space in the Indian made spacecraft will inspire younger generation in the years to come. The Heads of Space agencies from eight countries and eight astronauts are taking part in the symposium. There will be 10 technical sessions on five themes related to crew training, life support system and human space flight systems.

  • Researchers have identified for the first time the mechanism by which chronic stress causes hair colour loss, an advance that may lead to the development of novel drugs which can prevent the whitening of hair. In the study, published in the journal Nature, the scientists induced intense pain in special black mice for several weeks using a substance called resiniferatoxin, and turned the animals' fur completely white. 

    The researchers said resiniferatoxin, which activated sensory nerve fibres, is a naturally occurring chemical found in resin spurge (Euphorbia resinifera), a cactus-like plant native to Morocco. According to the scientists, the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the body's rapid involuntary response to dangerous situations, is affected directly by the stress, and consists of nerves that branch from the spine and run throughout the body. It controls the organism's "fight or flight" response to sudden danger, launching a flash flood of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol to make the heart beat faster, blood pressure rise, respiration accelerate and the pupils dilate, among other systemic effects.

Awards :
  • President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar, 2020 at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 22nd January. The Bal Puraskar is given by government every year to recognize exceptional achievements of children in various fields. These fields are innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts and culture, sports and bravery. 22 children who were selected for National Bravery Awards also received the awards from the President.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the conferment of Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards - 2019 on 54 persons. This includes Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak to seven, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak to eight and Jeevan Raksha Padak to 39 persons. Five awards are posthumous. Jeevan Raksha Padak series of awards are given to a person for meritorious act of human nature in saving the life of a person. 

    The award is given in three categories - Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and Jeevan Raksha Padak. Persons of all walks of life are eligible for these awards. The award can also be conferred posthumously. The decoration of the award is presented to the awardee in due course by the Ministry, organizations or state government to which the awardee belongs.

  • The 62nd edition of the Grammys was held at Los Angeles on January 26. The Grammys are being hosted by 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys. The ceremony began with a heart-wrenching tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash just hours before celebs began arriving on the Grammy red carpet. 

    Grammy winners:
    Album of the Year: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – Billie Eilish
    Song of the Year: Bad Guy – Billie Eilish
    Best New Artist: Billie Eilish
    Best Pop Solo Performance: Truth Hurts – Lizzo
    Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Old Town Road – Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus
    Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album:  Look Now – Elvis Costello & The Imposters
    Best Pop Vocal Album: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go – Billie Eilish
    Best Rock Performance: This Land – Gary Clark Jr.
    Best Metal Performance: 7empest – Tool
    Best Rock Song: This Land – Gary Clark Jr., Songwriter (Gary Clark Jr.)
    Best Rock Album: Social Cues – Cage The Elephant
    Best Alternative Music Album: Father of the Bride – Vampire WeekendBest R&
    Best Performance: Come Home – Anderson .Paak & Andre 300
    Best Traditional R&B Performance: Jerome – LizzoBest R&
    Best Song: Say So – Pj Morton, Songwriter (Pj Morton Ft. Jojo)
    Best Urban Contemporary Album: Cuz I Love You (Deluxe) – Lizzo
    Best R&B Album: Ventura – Anderson .Paak
    Best Rap Performance: Racks in the Middle – Nipsey Hussle featuring Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy
    Best Rap/Sung Performance: Higher – DJ Khaled ft. Nipsey Hussle and John Legend
    Best Rap Song: A Lot – Jermaine Cole, Dacoury Natche, 21 Savage & Anthony White
    Best Rap Album: Igor – Tyler, the Creator
    Best Dance Recording: Got to Keep On – The Chemical Brothers
    Best Dance Electronic Album: No Geography – The Chemical Brothers
    Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: Mettavolution – Rodrigo y Gabriela
    Best Country Solo Performance: Ride Me Back Home – Willie Nelso
    Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Speechless – Dan + Shay
    Best Country Song: Bring My Flowers Now – Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth and Tanya Tucker
    Best Country Album: While I’m Livin’ – Tanya Tucker
    Best New Age Album: Wings – Peter Kater
    Best Improvised Jazz Solo: Sozinho – Randy Brecker
    Best Jazz Vocal Album: 12 Little Spells – Esperanza Spalding
    Best Jazz Instrumental Album: Finding Gabriel – Brad Mehldau
    Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: The Omni-american Book Club – Brian Lynch Big Band
    Best Latin Jazz Album: Antidote –  Chick Corea & the Spanish Heart Band
    Best Bluegrass Album: Tall Fiddler – Michael Cleveland
    Best Traditional Blues Album: Tall, Dark & Handsome – Delbert McClinton & Self-made Men
    Best Contemporary Blues Album: This Land – Gary Clark Jr.
    Best Reggae Album: Rapture –  Koffee
    Best World Music Album: Celia – Angelique Kidjo
    Best Spoken Word Album: Becoming – Michelle Obama
    Best Comedy Album: Sticks & Stones – Dave Chapelle
    Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media: A Star Is Born – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
    Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: Chernobyl – Hildur Gudnadottir
    Best Music Video: Old Town Road (Official Movie) –  Lil Nas X featuring Billie Ray Cyrus
    Best Music Film: Homecoming, Beyonce

  • The government has announced 141 Padma Awards for this year on the occasion of 71st Republic Day. The list comprises of 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhusan and 118 Padma Shri awards. 34 awardees are women and 18 foreigners. 12 persons are awarded posthumously. 

Sports :
  • The closing cermony of 3rd Khelo India Youth Games held at Nabin Chandra Bordoloi indoor stadium in Guwahati on January 22, 2020. Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and MoS Food and processing industries Rameshwar Teli were present on this occasion. They handed over the champions trophy to Maharashtra, first runner up trophy to Haryana and second runner up trophy to Delhi. Mr Rijiu said, the moto of the games is to promote sports culture in country.

Persons :
  • The nation pays homage to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 123rd birth anniversary on January 23, 2020. It was on this day in 1897, Netaji was born in Cuttack, Odisha. A number of functions have been organised across the country to mark the occasion.

Appointments :
  • Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora has assumed Chairmanship of the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) for the year 2020. The Outgoing Chair of FEMBoSA, KM Nurul Huda who is also CEC of Bangladesh, handed over the Logo of FEMBoSA to Mr Arora at the 10th Annual Meeting of FEMBoSA held in New Delhi. FEMBoSA was established at the 3rd Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC Countries held at New Delhi in May, 2012. With its eight members, FEMBoSA represents a very large part of the democratic world and is an active regional association of Election Management Bodies.

Days :
  • National Girl Child Day will be celebrated on 24 January in Madhya Pradesh on the theme of “Aware girl child-able Madhya Pradesh" (Jagruk Balika-Samarth Madhya Pradesh) under the "Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao" scheme. During this, health of girls will be examined. Gender champions at the local level will also be selected. "The aim of this celebration is to create awareness in the society about the rights of daughters and to provide new opportunities to the daughters for their social and financial development. Apart from Girl child day, Women and Child Development Department will also celebrate National Girl Child Week from January 24 to 30. During the week, many important programmes like "Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao" signature campaign, plantation and name plate drive in the names of daughters, awareness campaign on women's rights and mass oaths for girl child protection will be administered. 

    The Ministry of Women and Child Development announced to set up ten Chairs in different fields with an aim to carry out research activities to encourage women. The initiative called the Establishment of Chairs in the Universities in the name of eminent women is being launched with the assistance of the University Grants Commission, UGC. The main objective is to inspire women to pursue higher education and to achieve excellence in their area of work. This initiative of highlighting and celebrating women achievers of the country will motivate young girls and women towards higher studies.

  • The 10th National Voters’ Day has been celebrated on 25th January. It was celebrated at over ten lakh locations across the country including Polling Stations, District and State headquarters. The theme this year is ‘Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy'. It sets the tone for year-long activities focusing on voter education and renewal of citizens’ faith in the electoral process. The Day is celebrated since 2011 to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on 25th January 1950.

  • India celebrated the 71st Republic Day on January 26, 2020 with a grand military parade and exhibition of its history, cultural diversity and strategic weaponry at the Rajpath in the National Capital, New Delhi. President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the tricolour and took the salute of the parade. President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the Chief Guest at the Parade this year.

Environment :
  • Researchers have discovered the oldest ever mushroom fossil to be identified, a finding which pushes back the time when the fungal organisms first appeared on the Earth by about 300 million years. According to the scientists, including those from Universite Libre de Bruxelles in France, the oldest confirmed mushroom fossil until now was dated to 460 million years ago. In the current study, published in the journal Science Advances, researchers found fossilised remains of microscopic mushroom parts called mycelium in rocks whose age is between 715 and 810 million years. The scientists said these rocks were found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and likely formed in a lagoon or coastal lake environment.

  • India’s first e-waste clinic is being opened in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on January 24, 2020. It would enable segregation, processing and disposal of waste from both household and commercial units. The e-waste clinic is jointly setting up by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC). "The e-waste clinic is being started on the basis of a three-month pilot project. If this project is successful, e-waste clinics will be established at other places in the country. BMC official informed that electronic waste will be collected door-to-door or could be deposited directly at the e-waste clinic. The CPCB will provide technical support to the clinic. The most interesting aspect of e-waste clinic is that the clinic has been prepared in junk low floor bus. The bus is decorated with e-waste material from outside and inside. A TV has been also installed in it, in which documentary films on the subject of environmental damage caused by e-waste will be shown.



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