Current Affairs – February 9, 2010

Appointments / Elections:
9th President of Bhartiya Janta Party: Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari is formally elected unopposed as the ninth president of the Bhartiya Janata Party to lead it for the next 3 years. 6 weeks before he had taken over the reigns from Rajnath Singh as the acting president.

Events / Happenings
Maha Samriti Buddha Park
Maha Samriti Buddha Park which has been constructed in Patna will be dedicated to the people by Dalai Lama in May this year.

National Updates:
Indefinite Moratorium on Bt Brinjal:
Citing lack of clear consensus within the scientific community, government of India puts on hold commercial cultivation of genetically modified brinjal. This moratorium is till scientific studies establish the safety of the product from long-term view on impact on human health, to the satisfaction of both the public and professionals. The moratorium is only confined to Bt brinjal and the decision does not cover the larger issue of genetic engineering

Andhra Pradesh : Issue of Minority Reservation
On February 8, 2010 , a seven member bench of Andhra Pradesh High Court headed by the Chief Justice A R Dave struck down the “Andhra Pradesh Reservation in Favor of socially and Educational Backward Classes of Muslims Act 2007” as unsustainable and unconstitutional. The court quashed the two GOs providing 4% reservations to 15 backward classes of Muslims in jobs and educational institutions. The judgment was supported by 5 judges and opposed by 2 judges.

The state government now decides to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to secure a stay order against the High Court judgment and save the interest of the 30,000 students who benefited from the quota were worried about the future. The Chief Minister K Rosaiah directs the Advocate General to initiate immediate steps to file the SLP in Supreme Court.

The high court judgment brings protests and criticism from the Muslim community for “insincerity” towards the reservations for Muslims, while is welcomed by other sections.

Andaman & Nicobar : Milan Concludes
The 13-nation Milan exercise led by Indian Navy can lead to converting itself into a joint taskforce for Asia-Pacific region (including Australia and New Zealand) in combating maritime terror, poaching, gun and drug-running. the 5 day event ends with leaving a debate on common concerns and threats in the region during a day-long table-top simulated exercise to arrive at a consensus on “jointmanship and inter-operability” as the only possible antidote.

The common maritime troubles nations face are terrorism, gun-running, drug-smuggling, poaching in the exclusive economic zones and illegal migrants. The notes on on ‘humanitarian assistance and disaster relief’ including community participation, logistics issues and means to prevent tragedy were exchanged by 13 navies.

India World:
On Feni River’s Issue:
Feni river is a trans-border River which flows through Tripura to Bangladesh. There has been a long pending dispute between India and Bangladesh regarding this river (since 1958, when this issue was discussed for the first time with Pakistan (Bangladesh was east Pakistan at that Time).

Current main problem is that as many as 14 small water projects are stalled due to this issue. There were several meetings of JRC (Joint River Commission) and now Bangladesh has finally agreed to allow Tripura to use the water of Feni River and decided that a joint survey for setting up water treatment plant in the southern Tripura town of Sabroom would be carried out on February 12.

Bangladesh agrees the Tripura Government’s proposal to install 6.5 lakh gallon capacity water treatment plant near the international border, which would run with 250 cubic meters water of Feni River.

Inland harbor at Sabroom: Sabroom is in South Tripura and is only 18-20 km from the Bay of Bengal. It is virtually land-locked territory and there are proposals to build an inland harbor at Sabroom, connected to the sea through a canal, if Bangladesh allows it. The construction of such a harbor could reduce considerably the cost of transportation of goods from the rest of India to Tripura and the Northeastern region.

Global Updates:
Iran: 20 percent uranium enrichment process
On 9 February 2010 Iran announced that it would produce uranium enriched to up to 20% to produce fuel for a research reactor used to produce medical radioisotopes, processing its existing stocks of 3.5% enriched uranium. This was announced two days later during the celebrations in Tehran for the the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces that Iran was now a “nuclear state.” IAEA officials confirmed it had begun the enrichment up to 20%. The enrichment process started in the research hall in the Natanz plant and a cascade of 164 centrifuges have been prepared for the 20 percent enrichment process. 20% production was for a Tehran medical reactor, and as such would be limited to around 1.5 kg per month – Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to Reuters. (Ref)

World Intellectual Property Organization data:
The World Intellectual Property Organization data for 2009 reveal that Indian companies and scientists filed one-tenth of patent applications filed by their Chinese counterparts during the same period. China filed 7976 patent application while India did 761. China was fifth in the top application filing nations. US leads the list with 45,790 applications. The next 3 are Japan (29,827), Germany (16,736) and South Korea (8,006).

About WIPO:
Established in 1967, WIPO or World Intellectual Property Organization is one of the 16 specialized agencies. Filing of patent applications under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty enables companies to secure patent protection in various countries. WIPO currently has 184 member states and headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Current Director-General of WIPO is Francis Gurry.

WIPO is a successor of United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (BIRPI-Bureaux Internationaux Réunis pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle)

On Iran Pakistan India gas pipeline:
India has still not made up her mind on the proposed 2775 kms. Iran Pakistan India pipeline. The situations have dramatically changed in last few years and now, US due to Iran’s Uranium enrichment programme seems to isolate it from the international community. In this regard, Iran has said that they can’t wait for India for an “indefinite time’ for joining the pipeline. This statement of Iranian envoy comes in a time where China’s keenness in joining the pipeline is being speculated. Pakistan has gone ahead for implementation of the pipeline still there were news that there is a pressure from US on Pakistan to abandon this project.

Main difference between India and Iran are over prices issue and security of the pipeline.

Who is Marjan Kalhor ?
Marjan Kalhor is an Iranian Alpine skier. She has become the first Iranian woman to participate in the Winter Olympics, at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Kalhor will take part in the slalom and giant slalom competitions. She will also act as her nation’s flag bearer.

Fastest Asian woman sprinter – Naseem Akhtar
Naseem Akhtar from Pakistan is Pakistan has become the fastest woman in South Asia. She clocked 11.81seconds to win the 100-metre sprint gold medal at the South Asian Games at Dhaka.

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