Current Affairs February 18, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of February 18, 2019 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. The Supreme Court has recently directed all state governments to sensitize their police personnel about scrapped Section 66A of Information Technology Act of 2000 so that people are not unnecessarily arrested under the provision. The Supreme court has also asked all the high courts to send the copy of the verdict to all the trial courts to avoid people being prosecuted under the scrapped provision.The court disposed off the application filed by an NGO alleging that people were still being prosecuted under the provision. The section 66A of IT Act provided for jail term to people who post offensive content online and it was scrapped by the apex court in March 2015.

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2. Professor Faizel Ismail, an Indian-origin global negotiator, has been appointed as the director of a renowned academic institution in South Africa. He will take charge as the director of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance from Professor Alan Hirsch in July 2019. Ismail is known for his role in negotiating major agreements for South Africa, including with the Southern African Customs Union as well as the Trade and Development Agreement with the European Union. He chaired the International Trade and Administration Commission from 2015 to 2018, and was reappointed for a five-year term till 2023. Ismail, a professor at the UCT’s School of Economics, has in the past served as an ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and a senior advisor to the Minister of Trade and Industry.

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3. The expert committee under the Chairmanship Dr Anoop Satpathy has recently submitted its report on “Determining the Methodology for Fixation of the National Minimum Wage” to the Government of India (GoI). The report has recommended to fix the need based national minimum wage for India at INR 375 per day (or INR 9,750 per month) as of July 2018, irrespective of sectors, skills, occupations and rural-urban locations for a family comprising of 3.6 consumption unit. It has also recommended to introduce an additional house rent allowance (city compensatory allowance), averaging up to INR 55 per day i.e., INR 1,430 per month for urban workers over and above the NMW. Using the nutritional requirement norms as recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for Indian population, the report has recommended a balanced diet approach which is culturally palatable for fixation of national minimum wage. Accordingly, it has proposed that food items amounting to the level of ± 10% of 2,400 calories, along with proteins ≥ 50 gm and fats ≥ 30 gm per day per person to constitute a national level balanced food basket.

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4. Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh municipal corporation has won the first prize at the “Swachhata Excellence awards 2019”. The municipal corporations of Ambikapur and Kumbakonam bagged the second and third prizes, respectively. While, Nagar Palika Parishad of Jashpur Nagar, Malappuram Municipality, and Nagar Palika Parishad Surajpur have claimed the prizes in the “Statutory Towns” category. Beside this, for million-plus cities, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has won the award. For aspirational districts, Chas Municipal Corporation has been awarded with a consolation prize.

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5. The researchers from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) have developed the first ant-like walking robot ‘AntBot’ that can explore its environment and find its way home without Global Positioning System (GPS). The scientists took inspiration from desert ants, which are extraordinary solitary navigators, to design the AntBot. Ants use polarised light and ultraviolet radiation to locate themselves in space. Cataglyphis desert ants in particular can cover several hundreds of metres in direct sunlight in the desert to find food, then return in a straight line to the nest, without getting lost. AntBot copies the desert ants’ exceptional navigation capacities, allowing it to explore without using GPS. The six-legged robot has an optical compass that uses polarised light to determine its direction, and an optical movement sensor directed to the sun to measure covered distance.

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6. Asia’s largest early childhood conference – “Early Ed Asia 2019” was held in Jaipur, Rajasthan with motto ‘Our Children. Our Future’. The aim of the conference was to provide a platform for learning, networking and sharing the best practices of early childhood education in Asia. It was organized by the Early Childhood Association, India and ScooNews. The conference brought together the brightest minds in Early Childhood Education to discuss the latest trends in teaching and research to provide a stronger foundation to our children. Over 600 eminent early childhood educators, policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders from India and foreign countries attended the conference. Special delegations of educators from Asia, Europe and the US also attended the conference. It is the first time that a conference of this magnitude is organised around early childhood education in India.

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7. Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal from Chandigarh has scripted history by becoming the first woman to be inducted as a flight engineer in the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Bengaluru. In a field dominated by men, Flt Lt Hina successfully completed the course at the 112 Helicopter Unit, Air Force Station, Yelahanka. She will now be posted to a helicopter squadron where she will monitor and operate IAF’s complex aircraft in various conditions, right from Siachen Glacier to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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8. In badminton, Sourabh Verma has won the Men’s Singles event at the Yonex-Sunrise 83rd Senior National Badminton Championships 2019 in Guwahati. In the final, he defeated Lakshya Sen in straight games of 21-18, 21-13. This is Verma’s 3rd nationals title. Earlier, the second seeded makeshift pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty clinched the men’s doubles title after beating top seeds Arjun M R and Shlok Ramchandran 21-13 22-20 in 33 minutes.

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9. The railway workers union — National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) has recently opposed the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. They asked the government to first prioritize work on existing train routes instead of focusing on the bullet train. Before the bullet train starts running, it is important to undertake repairs and maintenance work of the tracks across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe had launched the bullet train project in Ahmedabad in September 2017. The ambitious project is expected to be completed by 2022 and will cut travel time between the two cities from 7 hours to less than three. The bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will run a total length of 508 km, of which 21 km will be covered in a tunnel under the sea. The cost of the tunnel is estimated at Rs 3,500 crores. The cost of the total train project is Rs 1.08 lakh crore. The headquarters of NFIR is located at New Delhi.

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10. The Union Environment Minister, Dr Harsha Vardhan has recently inaugurated the North Karnataka Agromet Forecasting and Research Centre (NKAFC) at the Farmers’ Knowledge Centre on University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Dharwad . It is the first of its kind in India to boost agricultural activities across the country by taking modern technology to farmers. The main purpose of the centre is to give accurate reports on the weather which would enable the farmers to protect the crops and get a good yield. The centre will also forecast on lightning which causes large-scale destruction of livestock and to farmers. About 25 lakhfarmers in the region would be kept updated with information via various platforms like WhatsApp, SMS, social networking sites and community radio stations. The centre has been established by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences and the India Metrological Department (IMD), in association with UAS.

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