Current Affairs – February 03, 2021 [Today’s News Headlines]

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for February 3, 2021

INDIA

Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management to be set up in Chennai

On the occasion of World Wetlands Day on February 2 Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo announced the establishment of a Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM) as a part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, which is an institution under the Ministry.

India has 42 Ramsar sites for conservation of wetlands

India has rich wetlands famous for its biodiversity. As of December 2020, there are 42 Ramsar sites in India. The Ramsar Convention is an international agreement promoting the conservation of wetlands. The Convention was adopted at Ramsar in Iran in 1971 and came into force in 1975.

‘Aatmanirbharta’ named Oxford Hindi word of 2020

‘Aatmanirbharta’ implying self-reliance has been named by Oxford Languages as its Hindi word of the year 2020 as it “validated the day-to-day achievements of the countless Indians who dealt with and survived the perils of a pandemic”.

CHRI calls for withdrawal of sedition cases file against journalists in India

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on February 2, 2021 called for the withdrawal of sedition cases file against journalists in India and called for the repealing of sedition and criminal defamation laws. The CHRI said police forces in various States had used colonial era laws like sedition and criminal defamation as well as economic offences to “silence media”.

NIA to probe Jan 29 blast near Israel Embassy

The Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the January 29 explosion near the Israel Embassy in Delhi. An IED was set off at a pavement near the embassy, damaging a few cars. A handwritten note found near the explosion site, addressed to Ambassador Ron Malka, said it was just a trailer to avenge the killing of Iranian military commander Qasim Soleimani and others.

Economy & Corporate

BSE Sensex closes at 49,797.7 points (+1,197), Nifty50 at 14,648 (+367)

The Indian markets extended their historic Budget-day rally into second day on February 2, 2021. The S&P BSE Sensex zoomed 1,197 points, or 2.46 per cent, to settle the day at 49,797.7 points. The broader Nifty50 index closed at 14,648, up 367 points or 2.57 per cent.

RBI appoints firm to audit HDFC Bank’s IT infrastructure

HDFC Bank on February 2, 2021 said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has appointed an external IT firm for carrying out a special audit of its IT infrastructure in the aftermath of repeated service outages at the country’s largest private sector lender over the past two years. In December 2020, RBI temporarily barred HDFC Bank from launching new digital banking initiatives and issuing new credit cards after taking a serious view of service outages at the lender over the last two years.

SC asks Franklin Templeton to disburse Rs 9,122 crore to investors

The Supreme Court has directed Franklin Templeton to distribute Rs 9,122 crore to unitholders of the six schemes that were shut by the mutual fund house in April 2020. The fund house has been directed to distribute the money to unitholders within twenty days from February 2. Earlier, Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund had updated the unitholders that its six shut schemes have received Rs 14,391 crore from maturities, pre-payments and coupon payments since their closing down in April.

Banks’ NPAs decline to ₹8.08 lakh crore in Sept 2020: Govt

Non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans of the banking sector came down from a high of ₹10.36 lakh crore at the end of March 2018 to ₹8.08 lakh crore at the end of September 2020 due to various initiative of the government, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur informed the Rajya Sabha on February 2, 2021.

Delhi HC directs all parties in Amazon-Future dispute to maintain status quo

India’s Future Group needs to maintain status quo with respect to its $3.4 billion retail assets deal, the Delhi High Court said on February 2, 2021, giving interim relief to Amazon.com Inc as it battles to foil Future Group’s asset sales to Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). Amazon, locked in protracted legal disputes with Future, alleges the Indian firm violated contracts by agreeing to sell its retail assets to rival RIL in 2020.

World

Sri Lanka backs out of pact with India, Japan on terminal at Colombo Port

Sri Lanka has backed out of an agreement with India and Japan to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port. According to the tripartite agreement of May 2019, Sri Lanka, Japan and India were to jointly develop the strategic terminal with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) holding a 51% stake and India and Japan holding 49% together. Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in this regard on February 2, 2021.

World Wetlands Day observed on Feb 2

World Wetlands Day was observed on February 2, 2021 with its theme as ‘Wetlands and Water’. It emphasizes the importance of wetlands as a “source of freshwater and encourages action to restore them and stop their loss”.

Ford Motor Co, Google join hands to offer cloud-based data services

Ford Motor Co will tap into software, artificial intelligence and cloud computing offered by Alphabet Inc’s Google to develop new consumer services and modernize internal operations, the companies said on February 1, 2021. Ford will incorporate Google’s Android operating system into its Ford and Lincoln vehicles starting in 2023.

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