Current Affairs February 24-25, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of February 24-25, 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. In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the 5th edition of the Economic Times (ET) Global Business Summit 2019 on Feb 23 to offer insights into the direction of future policy. The two-day summit hosted business leaders and technology entrepreneurs from some of the most talked about and disruptive companies across the globe including Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of AirBnB, Martin Eberhard co-founder of Tesla, Sebastian Thrun CEO of KittyHawk and many more. The summit is a flagship initiative of the Times Group that envisions to bring together visionaries, thought leaders, heads of state, policy makers, academicians and corporate heads cohesively driving a singular agenda for Scripting Economic Change, by connecting the building blocks of Economics for India and the Globe.

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2. International terror financing watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list, despite India’s push to blacklist it in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack. The decision was recently taken at the end of week-long meetings by the FATF in Paris. The Paris-based FATF stated that Pakistan has made only limited progress in curbing money laundering and terrorism financing. It failed to show a proper understanding of the risks posed by terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Jamat-ud-Dawa and others. Pakistan has until October 2019 to either comply with the demands made by FATF members or it could be blacklisted. The FATF has asked Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan that includes showing sanctions were being applied in cases of money laundering and terrorism financing. It also has to demonstrate better cooperation between authorities, identify illegal money flows, and enhance support for prosecutors, among other measures. Terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack. Iran and North Korea are currently blacklisted.

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3. Justice Uma Nath Singh, the former Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court, has been sworn-in as the first Lokayukta of Nagaland and will hold the office for a term of 5 years or till he attains the age of 70. Governor PB Acharya administered the oath to Justice Singh him at a function held at Raj Bhavan in Kohima on 22nd Feb 2019. The Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in the Indian states. Once appointed, Lokayukta cannot be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly. Maharashtra was the first state to introduce the institution of Lokayukta through The Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act in 1971. This was followed by similar acts that were enacted by the states of Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Delhi.

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4. IIT-Madras has entered into an agreement with Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) to address public health issues and predict adverse pregnancy outcomes using technology. The aim of the pact is to bring physician-scientists, biologists, engineers and data scientists together to solve public health problems related to maternal and child health. The objective is to apply advanced analytical approach for prediction of adverse pregnancy outcomes, evaluate maternal and childhood consequences of exposure to environmental pollutants, among others. The THSTI is an autonomous institute of Department of Biotechnology (DBT). DBT is a department under Ministry of Science and Technnology.

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5. Kodi Ramakrishna (69), the veteran Telugu film director, has passed away in Hyderabad on Feb 22. Born at Palakollu in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, Ramakrishna made his debut in 1992 with romantic comedy ‘Intlo Ramaiah- Veedhilo Krishnaiah’ starring Chiranjeevi. He was known for championing the use of visual effects (VFX) to enhance cinematic experience in Telugu cinema. His films like ‘Ammoru’ and ‘Arundhati’ were praised for their VFX work. Some of his other popular films include Gudachari No 1, Muddula Krishnaiah, Pelli Pelli Pandiri and Rikshavodu. In 2016, Ramakrishna also commenced work on a biopic on Sathya Sai Baba, and it features Malayalam actor Sreejith Vijay in the titular role. The project still remains incomplete.

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6. China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua has launched the world’s first female AI news anchor ‘Xin Xiaomeng’ to read alongside its male AI news presenters. She was developed jointly by Xinhua and search engine company Sogou Inc. Xiaomeng is expected to make a debut in March during the upcoming meetings of the country’s national legislature and top political advisory body. Earlier, in 2018, China became the first country in the world to develop the first of its kind AI ‘journalist’, a male news presenter by the name of Qui Hao.

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7. Dr Divya Karnad, who teaches at Asoka University, has bagged the prestigious Global Future For Nature Award 2019 for her work on marine conservation. With the feat, she has become the first woman and the second Indian to receive the honour, the only other Indian being Dr Charudutt Mishra. The Future For Nature Award is a an international award that celebrates tangible achievements in protecting wild animal and plant species.

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8. An Iranian naval force has started a massive three-day drill, codenamed “Velayat 97”, across two million square kilometers of sea between the Straits of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean, including a sensitive global shipping route. The drill will showcase Iran’s submarines, warships, helicopters and drones. It is being held from the Strait of Hormuz to the southeastern coasts of Makran, the Sea of Oman and the northern parts of the Indian Ocean, down to the 10-degrees latitude. The naval exercise comes at a time of tensions with the US, after Washington condemned Iran at the summit in Warsaw. In addition Iran has upped tensions with Saudi Arabia after a terror attack in southeastern Iran, which Tehran blamed partly on Riyadh. Iran has also recently condemned the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the US. Sending its navy to the Strait of Hormuz, a major chokepoint for the world’s oil, is provocative. The Strait of Hormuz is an international transit route where American forces routinely pass and which has seen tense encounters between them and Iranian forces in the past.

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9. Acclaimed actress Kareena Kapoor Khan has become the brand ambassador of the Swasth Immunised India campaign to spread awareness among parents about child vaccination to help prevent the future generation from life-threatening diseases. The nation-wide vaccination and immunisation campaign has been launched by Serum Institute of India (SII) in association with Network18. The primary aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of vaccine administration, advocating its acceptance and building a strong immunization outreach in the country. Working alongside the government, the campaign will strive to reach full immunization coverage through continuous education and awareness.

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10. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has formed a four-member committee to look into the matter of taxation related pain points and submit its final report and recommendations by mid-March 2019. Its recommendations could include applying a filter for tax officer before a notice is issued and setting a time limit for concluding an investigation. The committee is head by income tax commissioner Sanjeev Sharma.

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