Current Affairs February 22, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of February 22, 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. Dr. G C Anupama has become the first woman President of Astronomical Society of India (ASI), prime association of professional astronomers in the country. She succeeded R K Tyagi. Prior to this post, she was the Dean and Senior Professor at the Bengaluru based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA). Dr. Anupama is also the India group head of an international team of scientists that is building a ‘Thirty Meter Telescope’ (TMT) at a cost of over $1 billion in Hawaii, USA. TMT is an international project being funded by scientific organisations of Canada, China, India, Japan, and USA. She has presented many papers on Astrophysics (supernova) at international conferences and was also Project in Charge for the design and establishment of the Himalayan Telescope at the Hanle Observatory in Leh, Ladakh. The Leh telescope is the only one at the highest elevation in the world and has been providing valuable data for the scientific community.

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2. The International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is observed every year on 21st of February to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Since 2019 is also the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL19), the theme of this year’s IMLD is “Indigenous Languages as a factor in development, peace and reconciliation”. At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given a place in education systems and the public domain. According to UN data, a language disappears every two weeks taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. UNESCO has been celebrating IMLD for nearly 20 years with the aim of preserving this linguistic diversity and promoting mother tongue-based multilingual education. Progress is being made in this direction with a growing understanding of its importance, particularly in early schooling.

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3. In Nepal, a month-long ‘Festival of India’ has started in Kathmandu to familiarize the new generation of the country about the similarities between the two countries. The festival, organised by the Indian Embassy and Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, is being held in Kathmandu and other major cities of Nepal from February 19th to March 21st.

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4. In Maharashtra, the International Vision Zero Conference was held in Mumbai from 18th to 20th February 2019 to promote Occupational Safety and Health. The conference provides a forum for promoting safety and health at work by exchanging knowledge, practices and experience. It is organized by the Directorate General Factory Advice and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI), IIT Bombay together with the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) and with strong support of the ISSA Sections on Construction, Electricity, Mining, Transportation and Information. The concept of Vision Zero is based on four fundamental principles viz. life is non-negotiable, humans are fallible, tolerable limits are defined by human physical resistance, and people are entitled to safe transport and safe workplaces. The Vision is based on principles of Controlling Risks, Ensuring Safety and Health in Machines, Equipment and Workplaces and Skill Upgradation of Workforce.

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5. The Kerala State Police claimed to have created history by becoming one of the world’s first and the very first police force in India to induct humanoid robots called ‘KP-Bot’. KP-Bot is designed to provide round-the-clock service, involving public interface and front office administration and overcome human limitations to avoid, to the extent possible, human error. However, it does not replace any human resources. Rather, it would act as the first contact point and a data collection tool to help improve the overall quality of service and performance levels.

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6. The Spain government has recently conferred Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with a prestigious award ‘Grand Cross of Order of Civil Merit’. The award was conferred in recognition of India’s support in evacuating 71 Spanish nationals through Operation Maitri from Nepal in April 2015 during the disastrous earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people and injured as many as 22,000 people.

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7. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has recently launched KALIA Chhatra Brutti Scholarship at the Secretariat for the children of the KALIA Scheme beneficiaries, who are studying and aspiring for technical and professional education. The state government is implementing the KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme for the benefit of the farmers. Under the scheme, named after Lord Jagannath, the government would provide financial assistance of Rs. 10,000 per family to small and marginal farmers as assistance for cultivation. Each family will get Rs 5,000 separately in the kharif and rabi seasons, for five cropping seasons between 2018-19 and 2021-22. The scheme is not linked to the amount of land owned. Besides, landless households would be provided Rs 12,500 to take up activities like goat rearing units, mini layer units, duckery units, fishery kits for fishermen and women, mushroom cultivation and beekeeping.

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8. An international team of more than 200 astronomers from 18 countries has published the first phase of a major new radio sky survey at unprecedented sensitivity using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. The survey discovered 3,00,000 hidden galaxies using radio astronomy in a tiny corner of the northern hemisphere at low radio frequency. It is believed that these findings will help shed new light on some of the Universe’s deepest secrets. This includes the physics of black holes as well as research into how galaxy clusters evolve. The LOFAR telescope is operated by ASTRON in The Netherlands and is considered to be the world’s leading telescope of its type. It is made up of a network of radio antenna across seven countries, forming the equivalent of a 1,300-km diameter satellite dish. It is capable of detecting light source beyond the power of optical instruments. Radio astronomy allows scientists to detect radiation produced when massive celestial objects interact.

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9. President Donald Trump has recently signed an executive order ‘Space Policy Directive-4 (SPD-4)’ to establish its Space Force as a new military service within the Department of Air Force. The main goal of the Space Force is to secure and extend American dominance of the space domain. As per the order, the Space Force would be an armed branch of the military and include both combat and combat support functions to enable prompt and sustained offensive and defensive space operations in all domains. The force will be organized, trained, and equipped to meet and protect the US national interests in the space, consistent with international laws. Currently, the Air Force is the US military branch that currently has responsibility for space.

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10. The 3rd edition of “Words in the Garden” festival 2019 is scheduled to be held on February 22 in New Delhi and will pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi with the theme — ‘Bapu ki Dilli’. The 3-day festival will celebrate the creativity, imagination and ideas that Delhi generates, sustains and embodies. Commemorating 150 years of Gandhi’s birth anniversary, the event will feature plays, recitals, readings, discussions honoring the life and ideology of Bapu. Highlights include M K Raina’s play “Stay Yet A While”, poems, recitals, acts and music by Gandhi Ambedkar Circle of St Stephen’s College, storytelling by Mahmood Farooqui on Gandhi’s final journey and Madhup Mudgal’s “Ashram Bhajanavali”. The fest is free and open to all, and will see participation by stalwarts from the fields of literature, art, and social sciences among others. The fest is the brain child of renowned Hindi writer Ashok Vajpeyi.

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