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13 to 17 February 2020 Current Affairs



International :


  • The largest crafts fair in the world, the 34th Surajkund Mela -2020 culminated on February 16, 2020. The state of Himachal Pradesh was chosen to be the Theme State for this year 2020. The Mela is organized every year by the Surajkund Mela Authority & Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs.


  • The Jerusalem-Mumbai festival, a day-long cultural festival hosted on the grounds of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, was opened on February 15, 2020 by the Maharashtra Minister of Cultural Affairs Amit Deshmukh and Consul General of Israel in Mumbai Ya’akov Finkelstein. The festival, part of a project, has been held in cities around the world including Prague and Moscow. Mumbai is the first city in Asia to host the event. The Jerusalem-Mumbai festival is being organized by the Jerusalem municipality in partnership with the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai and the Federation of India-Israel Chamber of Commerce.




National :


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 17, 2020 inaugurated the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar through Video Conferencing. 

    The theme of the Conference is "Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home." 

    The CMS COP13 logo is inspired by ‘Kolam’, a traditional artform from southern India. In the logo, Kolam art form is used to depict key migratory species in India like Amur falcon, humpback whale and marine turtles. 

    The mascot for CMS COP13, “Gibi - The Great Indian Bustard” is a critically endangered species, which has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. 

    As the host, India will be designated the President for the next three years. India is signatory to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory wild Animals since 1983. Government has been taking necessary actions to protect and conserve migratory marine species. 



  • Government of India has decided to rename Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra in New Delhi as Sushma Swaraj Bhawan and Foreign Service Institute in the national capital as Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service. The announcement was made on February 13, 2020 by the Ministry of External Affairs on the eve of the birth anniversary of Mrs Swaraj and in the honour of the legacy and decades of public service of the former External Affairs Minister.


  • The Union Cabinet approved MoU between India and Iceland in the field of Sustainable Fisheries Development. The MoU was signed on 10th September, 2019. The MoU will strengthen the existing friendly relations between India and Iceland and will enhance consultation and cooperation on Fisheries including consultation on bilateral issues. 

    The salient features of the MoU are :
    a. Creation of facilities for exchange of scientists and technical experts and their proper placement, especially in areas of estimating Total Allowable Catches in off shore and deep sea areas.
    b. Provision of training to fisheries professionals from key fisheries institutions in the various management aspects on areas of modern fisheries management and fish processing
    c. Exchange of scientific literature research findings and other information.
    d. Exchange of experts / expertise to study the prospects of fishing. 
    e. Processing and marketing of products from high seas fisheries for entrepreneurship development.


  • The Union Cabinet approved protocol amending the agreement between India and SriLanka for avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.


  • The Union Cabinet has given its in principle approval for capital infusion for three Public Sector General Insurance Companies, namely, Oriental Insurance Company Limited (OICL), National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) and United India Insurance Company Limited (UIICL). Cabinet has allowed immediate release of Rs. 2500 Crore in the light of the critical financial position and breach of regulatory solvency requirements of 3 PSGICs viz. OICL, NICL and UIICL.


  • The central Government launched the School Health Ambassador Initiative on February 12, 2020 to spread awareness about the preventive health aspects. The initiative has been launched as a part of Ayushman Bharat. It will be jointly run by the Union ministries of Health and Human Resources Development. 

    1.) Under the initiative, two teachers will be identified in every government school as ‘health and wellness ambassadors’.
    2.) The School Health Ambassador Initiative aims to foster growth, development and educational achievements of school-going children by promoting their health and well-being. 
    3.) It also aims to strengthen the concept of preventive, promotive and positive health, which forms a fundamental part of the health and wellness centres of the Ayushman Bharat scheme.


  • Union Cabinet has approved the Pesticide Management Bill 2020 to promote the use of organic pesticides in the country. The bill aims to regulate the business of pesticides that is currently being regulated by the age-old 1968 rules, which require immediate rewriting. The bill will now be presented in the Parliament. Under this bill, the farmers will be compensated in case of losses of crops due to the use of spurious agrochemicals.


  • India has called for concerted efforts by the BIMSTEC countries to fight against the menace of drug trafficking. Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy said that Drug trafficking can be controlled only by sharing the experiences and information by affected nations. 

    The Minister was addressing the Valedictory Session, of the ‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’ for BIMSTEC Partner Nations, in New Delhi on February 14, 2020. He said that the drug trafficking menace is common to all the nations of the world as it has the capacity to destabilize the economy. He said, the issues of terrorism and drug trafficking have increased manifold through the maritime route.


  • The National Institute of Technology (NIT), Trichy, Tamilnadu has developed Thirumathikart - a mobile app for SHG (Self Help Group) products. The application was developed in coordination with the Union Department of Science and Technology. 

    The main objective of the app is to empower women and help them access market opportunities in a seamless manner. The platform will also enable Self Help Groups to showcase their products to a wider audience.


  • The 20th Hunar Haat is being held at India Gate lawns in New Delhi from 13 to 23 February, 2020 where master artisans and culinary experts from across the country are showcasing their talents. More than 250 stalls have been set up where master artisans, craftsmen and culinary experts are participating from across the country.




Bilateral :


  • Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari reached Stockholm, Sweden on February 17, 2020 to represent India at the 3rd High Level Global Conference on Road Safety for Achieving Global Goals 2030. The objective of the two-day conference is to bring road safety on the global agenda and renew the world community’s commitment to safer roads. Leaders from participating countries will draw up a road-map for reaching the United Nation’s goal set under the UN Decade of Action of reducing road crashes by 2030. 

    The conference, a follow up of the 2nd High Level Global Conference on Traffic Safety-Time of Results in 2015 in Brazil, is being organised in active collaboration with World Bank, World Health Organisation and other agencies who are assisting it by way of strengthening the capabilities of various institutions, enhancing awareness and improving engineering designs for safer roads.


  • India marks the beginning of super year of Biodiversity 2020 with the hosting of the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), an environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme, from 17th to 22nd February 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. 

    Union Minister for Environment Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said, India has initiated Ocean dialogue with Norway to address the problem of Marine Plastic litter. 

    1.) Both countries decided to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in the field of environment and climate change particularly in the field of marine pollution

    2.) Both countries discussed ways to ensure that the coming decade will be of rapid global action on the Environment. India and Norway have formed joint working groups on Blue economy with sustainable development. 

    3.) Both the ministers issued a joint statement after the meeting which envisages joint efforts in dealing with challenges of climate change, sharing of technology and research and development in the field of environment. 


  • The Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the French Province of Center-Val de Loire have decided to make the Tamil and French fusion music to be performed in both the states. A decision to this effect has arrived at a meeting between the Tamil Nadu Minister for Culture Pandiarajan and his counterpart from the French province Olivier Frezot in Chennai on February 12, 2020. Both the states have already signed an MoU to cooperate in culture studies. They reviewed the progress made after the MoU.


  • A new educational institution building constructed with Government of India financial assistance for students from the economically weaker sections was inaugurated in a remote area of Gulmi district in Nepal on February 12, 2020. The new three-storey building with Indian assistance of 2.5 crore rupees is part of the Chandrakot Campus under the Tribhuvan University. The Chandrakot Campus was established in 2008 with an aim of imparting higher education to students who are unable to pursue their higher studies due to poor economic conditions. Over 90 per cent of the students studying in the Campus are girls. 

    India has been providing assistance in the development of several educational institutions in Nepal. Recently, a new school built with Indian grant of 2.4 crore rupees was inaugurated in Nuwakot district of Nepal as part of the Government of India’s post-earthquake rehabilitation programme.


  • India and Portugal signed 14 agreements to boost cooperation in a range of areas including defence, investment, transport, ports, culture and industrial and intellectual property rights and yoga. The economic ties between India and Portugal are on the rise and bilateral trade has crossed a billion dollars. He said, two-way investments between the two countries are also rising. He said, India looks forward to Portugal joining the International Solar Alliance in the near future. 

    1.) MoU for Cooperation for setting up a National Maritime Museum Heritage Complex in Lothal (Gujarat) between Portuguese Ministry of Defence and Indian Ministry of Shipping. 

    2.) MOU between Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) and DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce for co-operation in the field of industrial and intellectual property rights. 

    3.) MoU on Audio-Visual Co-production between India and Portugal 

    4.) MoU between Portuguese Diplomatic Institute and Foreign Service Institute for training 

    5.) Co-operation Agreement on Maritime Transport and Port Development between India and Portugal 

    6.) Joint Declaration on India and Portugal Mobility Partnership 

    7.) MOU between Invest India and Start-Up Portugal 

    8.) MOU between Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and Institute of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Lisbon for co-operation in strategic and security areas 

    9.) MoU between We-Hub Telangana and PARKURBIS Covilha for Exchange of Women Start-up Entrepreneurs 

    10.) MOU between The National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST), Thiruvananthapuram and Instituto Superior T├ęcnico (IST), Portugal, for collaboration in higher sciences 

    11.) MOU between TERI-DEAKIN Centre, Gurugram and International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) Braga for co-operation in Nano-biotechnology 

    12.) MOU between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and CEiiA in aeronautics. 

    13.) MOU between VEDA Defence and UA Vision for production of drones 

    14.) MOU between VYASA, Bangalore and Portuguese Yoga Confederation for collaboration in a Scientific Validation project on the benefits of Yoga for Portuguese schoolchildren 


  • Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has said that his country's priority is to have joint expertise in various areas of the economy. Addressing the India-Portugal Business Forum in Mumbai, de Mr Sousa said that India is an economic and social global power and the largest democracy in the world. Mr de Sousa said that both Portugal and India are not just the European or Asian countries or cultures but they are universal. The President said the two countries work with the world, for the world be it for the peace, freedom, sustainable development or climate change. 

    The forum, organised by industry bodies, CII, ASSOCHAM and FICCI, was also attended by Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, Secretary of State of Internationalisation of Portuguese Republic Eurico Brilhante Dias, and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, besides industry leaders from the two countries. Addressing the forum, Mr. Goyal said that both India and Portugal are focused on economic growth, investment, industry and innovation and also discussed on various sectors such as real estate and infrastructure development.





Economy :


  • The U.S. government has changed an administrative rule making it easier for it to impose countervailing duties (CVDs) on goods from India and certain other countries. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has published a notice, amending lists of developing and least-developed countries that are eligible for preferential treatment with respect to CVD investigations. 

    To harmonise U.S. law with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) Agreement, the USTR had, in 1998, come up with lists of countries classified as per their level of development. These lists were used to determine whether they were potentially subject to U.S. countervailing duties. 

    India was, until February 10, on the developing country list and therefore eligible for these more relaxed standards. It has now been taken off of that list. The new lists consist of 36 developing countries and 44 least developed countries.




Defence :


  • The United States Government has approved the sale of Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IDWS) to India. The US has approved this deal of USD 1.9 billion (about Rs. 13,000 crores). Earlier, the US government expressed its displeasure when India signed an agreement with Russia to buy five S-400 air defense systems for five billion dollars (about 35000 crore rupees). 

    Integrated Air Defence Weapon System (IDWS) consists of five AN / MPQ-64 F1 Sentinel radar systems, 118 AMRAAM -120 C-7 / C-8 missiles, three AMRAAM Guidance sections, four AMRAAM control sections, and 134 Stinger FIM-92 L missiles. It also included 32 M4 A1 rifles, multi-spectral targeting system-model A.


  • Indo-Bangladesh joint military exercise SAMPRITI-IX is held from 03 February to 16 February 2020 in Meghalaya. The exercise was aimed at strengthening the military relations between the two countries, which allowed the two armies to understand each other's tactical drills and operating techniques. The exercise provided an ideal platform for the personnel of the two countries to share their experiences on counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism operations and providing aid to civil authorities for disaster management especially in the jungle and semi-urban terrain. 

    SAMPRITI series of the joint exercise is a very important military & diplomatic initiative between both the nations and the edifice of the trust and friendship between India & Bangladesh which has been nurtured with the sweat and toil of Officers and soldiers of contingents participating in each edition. 

    Besides training, both contingents also participated in a number of activities including friendly volleyball and basketball matches. A magnificent parade and the customary exchange of mementos marked the successful completion of Indo-Bangladesh joint exercise. The joint exercise was undoubtedly an unprecedented success. Besides promoting understanding and interoperability between the two armies, it further helped in strengthening ties between India and Bangladesh.


  • President Ram Nath Kovind presented President’s Colour to Indian Navy’s INS Shivaji in Lonavala, Maharashtra on February 13, 2020. The President’s colour is the highest honour bestowed upon any Indian military unit. 

    The President’s colour was presented to INS Shivaji during a ceremonial parade comprising 130 officers and 630 sailors including 150 Guard of Honour. INS Shivaji is commanded by Commodore Ravnish Seth. The honour was received by Nishan Adhikari on behalf of the military unit. On the occasion, a special cover marking INS Shivaji’s platinum jubilee was also released by the President. 

    Established in 1945, INS Shivaji is one of the leading training establishments of the Indian Navy. The naval unit mainly imparts training to the officers and sailors of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard.




Awards :


  • India’s pioneering feminist scholar and activist Gita Sen, has won the prestigious Dan David Prize for her expansive work in the fields of population policies, reproductive and sexual health, women’s rights, poverty, labour markets and global governance.


  • The Filmfare awards are held every year to honour and celebrate the finest talents of Bollywood. This year, the 65th Filmfare Awards were held at Guwahati, Assam on February 15, 2020.

    Best Film- Gully Boy 

    Best Director- Zoya Akhtar for Gully Boy 

    Best Film (Critics) - Article 15 (Anubhav Sinha) and Sonchiriya (Abhishek Chaubey) 

    Best Actor In A Leading Role (Male) - Ranveer Singh for Gully Boy 

    Best Actor (Critics) - Ayushmann Khurrana for Article 15 

    Best Actor In A Leading Role (Female) - Alia Bhatt for Gully Boy 

    Best Actress (Critics) - Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu for Saand Ki Aankh 

    Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Female) - Amruta Subhash for Gully Boy 

    Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male) - Siddhant Chaturvedi for Gully Boy 

    Best Music Album - Zoya Akhtar, Ankur Tewari for Gully Boy Mithoon, Amaal Mallik, Vishal Mishra, SachetParampara and Akhil Sachdeva for Kabir Singh 

    Best Lyrics - Divine and Ankur Tewari for Apna Time Aayega (Gully Boy) 

    Best Playback Singer (Male) - Arijit Singh for Kalank Nahi (Kalank) 

    Best Playback Singer (Female) - Shilpa Rao for Ghungroo (War) 

    Best Debut Director - Aditya Dhar for Uri: The Surgical Strike 

    Best Debut Actor- Abhimanyu Dassani for Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota 

    Best Debut Actress - Ananya Pandey for Student Of The Year 2, Pati Patni Aur Woh 

    Best Original Story- Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki for Article 15 

    Best Screenplay - Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar for Gully Boy 

    Best Dialogue - Vijay Maurya for Gully Boy 

    Lifetime Achievement Award - Ramesh Sippy 

    Excellence In Cinema - Govinda 

    RD Burman Award For Upcoming Music Talent - Sashwat Sachdev- UR




Sports:


  • Grand master Koneru Humpy has won the Cairns cup chess tournament at St. Louis, USA.


  • India's squash ace Joshna Chinappa has clinched 77th Senior National Championship in woman's category at the ISA courts in Chennai. 
    Saurav Ghosal won in Men's category.


  • The Indian men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh was named Player of the Year for 2019 by the International Hockey Federation on February 15, 2020. Manpreet, a midfielder, became the first Indian to win the accolade since the awards were introduced in 1999.


  • World silver-medallist Amit Panghal has been ranked number one in the 52 kilogram category for Olympic Qualifiers, making him the first Indian pugilist in over a decade to achieve the global top position in the category.


  • Indian athletes finished with three medals in different categories in the World SnowShoe Championship at Myoko, Japan. According to a tournament official, Ayan Bin Shahnaz bagged silver, while Zain Ali and MuzamilHussain Mir, all are from Kashmir, bagged bronze medals in their respective categories. 

    Athletes from 17 countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden and France participated in the championship. The Indian contingent was fielded by SnowShoe Federation of India.




Persons:


  • Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal took oath as Chief Minister of Delhi for the third consecutive time on February 16, 2020.


  • Indian-origin UK Minister Alok Sharma to lead UN climate summit to be hosted by Britain in November 2020.


  • Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, the former chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), passed away on 13 February, 2020 at the age of 79. Pachauri was the chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, when it shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former US Vice President Al Gore.




Appointments:


  • Government of India appointed Barun Mitra as Secretary, Department of Justice in the Ministry of Law and Justice on on 11th February, 2020.


  • Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy's son-in-law, Rishi Sunak has been appointed as UK's Finance Minister. Indian origin Members of Parliament, the 47-year-old Priti Patel has been appointed as the Home Minister.


  • The government on 13 February, 2020 appointed the 1988 batch IAS officer of Nagaland Cadre Rajiv Bansal as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India.




Days :


  • World Radio Day is observed on February 13, 2020. The day is observed every year to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio and to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio. The theme for the 2020 World Radio Day is "Radio and Diversity".


  • India celebrates Sarojini Naidu's birthday as National Women's Day of India every year on February 13. Sarojini Naidu was India's first women governor and also famous as 'Bharat Kokila'. 

    She was famous for her nickname 'Nightingale of India' because of her poems. Sarojini Naidu was not only a freedom fighter, but she also became the first woman governor of the United Provinces, the present Uttar Pradesh. Sarojini Naidu was born on February 13, 1879. She actively participated in the Indian National Movement for the independence of the country.




Science & Technology :


  • London police has started using facial recognition cameras from Feb 11 to automatically scan for wanted people. Surveillance cameras mounted on a blue police van monitored people coming out of a shopping center in Stratford, in east London. 

    London's system uses technology from Japan's NEC to scan faces in the crowds to see if they matched any on a “watchlist” of 5,000 faces created specifically for the operation. The new technology has been used, despite warnings from rights groups, lawmakers and independent experts about a lack of accuracy and bias in the system and the erosion of privacy.




Environment :


  • The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (CMS), an environmental treaty under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, is hosted by India from 17th to 22nd February 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. 

    The theme of CMS COP13 in India is, “Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home.“ The CMS COP 13 logo is inspired by ‘Kolam’, a traditional art form from southern India. In the logo of CMS COP-13, Kolam art form is used to depict key migratory species in India like Amur falcon, humpback whale and marine turtles. 

    The mascot for CMS COP13, “Gibi - The Great Indian Bustard” is a critically endangered species that has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network, i.e, the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, including 29 globally threatened species. 

    India has been a Party to the CMS since 1983. The Conference of Parties (COP) is the decision-making organ of this convention. Migratory species are those animals that move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc. The movement between habitats can sometimes exceed thousands of miles/kilometres for some migratory birds and mammals. A migratory route can involve nesting and also requires the availability of habitats before and after each migration. 

    In order to protect the migratory species throughout their range countries, a Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), has been in force, under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme. Also referred to as the Bonn Convention, it provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats and brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range. 

    The convention complements and co-operates with a number of other international organizations, NGOs and partners in the media as well as in the corporate sector. Under this convention, migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I and Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them. Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention. India has also signed a non-legally binding MOU with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016). 

    India is a temporary home to several migratory animals and birds. The important among these include Amur Falcons, Bar-headed geese, Black-necked cranes, Marine turtles, Dugongs, Humpbacked Whales, etc. The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network, i.e, the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, including 29 globally threatened species. India has also launched the National Action Plan for the conservation of migratory species under the Central Asian Flyway.



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