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3 & 4 February 2020 - Current Affairs

International :
  • Sri Lankan Government has said that the national anthem will be sung only in Sinhala and not in Tamil, during the main Independence day celebrations to be held in Colombo. The national anthem in Tamil has not been included in celebrations for the first time since 2016, when previous government under President Maithripala Sirisena had initiated it in an attempt of reconciliation with Tamil minorities. Minister of State for Home Affairs Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the use of Tamil version will be permitted at province-based ceremonies although there will be only Sinhala version at the main ceremony.

  • The United Arab Emirates announced the discovery of a new natural gas field containing 80 trillion standard cubic feet of gas in the cross-border area of the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The Government of Dubai stated that the discovery of the Jebel Ali gas field will contribute to achieving gas self-sufficiency for the nation and support the next phase of its major development projects in line with the nation’s strategic development plan for the coming 50 years. 

    This new gas field, spanning an area of 5,000 square kilometres in the cross-border area of the two emirates, represents one of the largest natural gas discoveries in the UAE. The discovery strengthens the UAE’s position among countries with the world’s largest natural gas reserves. This discovery will help UAE in transiting the gulf nation from a net importer of gas to a potential net exporter of gas in coming times.

  • Bhutan has recently introduced a new system for regional tourists called ‘Sustainable Development Fee’. The lower house of ‘Tshogdu’ or Bhutan’s Parliament passed legislation that tourists from India, Maldives, and Bangladesh have to pay a certain amount for their stay in the country. As per the new policy, regional tourists have to pay 1200 Bhutanese Ngultrum (USD 16.85) as a sustainable development fee per day from July 2020. According to the reports, tourists have to pay this fee because tourists disturb Bhutan’s ecology during their trip. 

    Sustainable Development Fee is another opportunity for the Bhutan government to earn good revenue. According to the data published in 2018, Bhutan earned USD 26.29 million through Sustainable Development Fee. However, the total income from international tourists was USD 85.41 million. A sustainable development fee is a payment for the maintenance of ecology in the country. As per the Bhutan government, tourists generally damage ecology that affects the country’s environment. A certain amount is required to maintain a unique ecology of Bhutan therefore Sustainable Development Fee is has been introduced.

National :
  • The Union Budget 2020-21 proposes setting up of Kisan Rail to build a national cold supply chain for perishables including meat, milk and fish. The Kisan rail will be set up by the Indian Railways through the PPP arrangement. The Kisan Rail will comprise refrigerated coaches in Express and Freight trains. The budget also proposed the launch of Krishi Udan by Civil Aviation Ministry on international and national routes to transport perishable goods to less accessible areas such as the north-east and tribal districts.

Bilateral :
  • Rwanda and Uganda have agreed a deal to swap prisoners to help ease tensions following mutual accusations of spying and political meddling. Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni were once close allies but their relations have turned deeply hostile. In the deal signed by Kagame and Museveni in the Angolan capital Luanda, the two sides agreed to the release of the national citizens of each country.

Defence :
  • The ninth edition of Indo-Bangladesh Joint Military Exercise SAMPRITI-IX commenced at Umroi, Meghalaya. The main focus of this edition of the fourteen days joint exercise is on Counter-Terrorism Operations in mountainous and jungle terrain. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen and broaden the interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh’s armies. And to strengthen and expand the aspects of mutual cooperation between both armies.

  • Ministerial-level Defence dialogue between India and South Korea was held in New Delhi on February 4, 2020. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of National Defence of South Korea Jeong Kyeong-doo held the meeting. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General Manoj Naravane and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh were also present in the meeting.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on February 4, 2020 held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Affairs of Qatar Dr. Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah. Several subjects pertaining to deepening bilateral defence cooperation were discussed during the talks.

Sports :
  • Indian boxers bag six gold at Golden Girl Championship in Sweden.
    Haryana's Prachi Dhankar (50 kilogram), playing in the junior category, won the 'Best Boxer' award.
    Ethoibi Chanu Wangjam (54 kilogram), Lashu Yadav (66 kilogram) and Mahi Raghav (80 kilogram) also won gold medals.
    The three silver medals in the junior category were won by Janhavi Churi (46 kilogram) Rudy Lalhmingmuani (66 kilogram) and Tanishka Patil (80 kilogram) while Diya Negi brought home a bronze in the 60 kilogram slot.

  • In Weightlifting, former world champion Mirabai Chanu bettered her own national record by two kilogram as she lifted a total of 203kg to win the 49kg gold in the National Championships in Kolkata. The 25-year-old Manipuri lifted 88kg in snatch in her second attempt and 115 kg in clean and jerk for a total of 203kg.

Awards :
  • The British Academy Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTA) ceremony held at the Royal Albert Hall, London February 03, 2020. This event honored the best national and international films of the year 2019. 
    The film ‘1917’ directed by British filmmaker Sam Mendes won the Best Film Award in the BAFTA ceremony. Actor Joaquin Phoenix was awarded the Best Actor Award for the film ‘Joker’ while actress Renee Zellweger won the Best Actress Award for the film ‘Judy’. 
    ‘1917’ is a British film, directed, produced and written by Sam Mendes. It is based on the situations of World War-I. Earlier, ‘1917’ won the 77th Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Motion Picture award. 

    Best Film
    Best Film (Not in English)
    Best Director
    Sam Mendes (1917)
    Best Leading Actress
    Renee Zellweger (Judy)
    Best Leading Actor
    Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
    Best Supporting Actor
    Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
    Best Supporting Actress
    Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
    Best Editing
    Le Mans ’66
    Outstanding British Film
    Outstanding Debut by a British Writer/Director
    Best Original Score
    Best Cinematography
    Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema
    Andy Serkis
    Best Costume Design
    Jacqueline Durran (Little Woman)
    Special Visual Effects
    Best Animated Film

  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) Awards : The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana is a maternity benefit programme implemented in all the districts of the country since 2017. Under this scheme, the cash incentive of five thousand rupees is being provided directly to the bank and post office account of pregnant women and lactating mothers for the first living child of the family. 

    Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani given the PMMVY awards to states, union territories and districts for best performance. 
    1.) In the category of best performance among States and Union Territories having a population of more than one crore, the first position was awarded to Madhya Pradesh followed by Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.
    2.) Among States and Union Territories having a population of less than one crore, Dadra and Nagar Haveli got the first award.

Days :
  • World Cancer Day is observed on the 4th of February every year to create awareness about cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that cancer cases will rise by 81 percent in low and middle-income countries by 2040 because of a lack of investment in prevention and care. It said, these countries have focused their limited resources on combating infectious diseases and improving maternal and child health instead of fighting cancer.

Science & Technology :
  • The Indian Institute of Veterinary Research (IVRI) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) developed a new vaccine to control classical swine fever. This vaccine will help to protect rabbits as currently lapinized CSF (Classical Swine Fever) vaccines are manufactured from rabbits. This new vaccine will provide two years of immunization capacity, while the existing vaccines only provide 3 to 6 months of immunization capacity. IVRI developed a cell culture vaccine to do away the sacrificing of rabbits. The new vaccine will be ready for commercial production within a year.



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