Current Affairs – February 19, 2021 [Today’s News Headlines]

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for February 19, 2021

INDIA

PM Modi launches ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ project in Assam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 18, 2021 launched the ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ initiative in Assam. The programe is aimed at providing seamless connectivity to the eastern parts of India and includes various development activities for the people living around River Brahmaputra and River Barak. As part of ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ programe, he inaugurated the Ro-Pax vessel operations between Neamati-Majuli Island, North Guwahati-South Guwahati and Dhubri-Hatsingimari. He also laid the foundation stone of Inland Water Transport (IWT) Terminal at Jogighopa and various tourist jetties on River Brahmaputra.

PM Modi lays foundation stone of Dhubri Phulbari bridge over Brahmaputra

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 18, 2021 laid the foundation stone for Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge over Brahmaputra river. The 19 km long 4-lane bridge from Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya will improve connectivity in Barak Valley and will reduce distance between Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Assam. The distance between Meghalaya and Assam is about 250 km by road now it will be reduced to just 19-20 km.

India hosts online workshop on ‘COVID-19 Management’, 10 nations participate

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a Workshop on ‘COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward’ with nearly 10 Neighboring Countries on February 18, 2021. India hosted a Secretary-level virtual meeting on COVID-19 management with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. SAARC nations, including Pakistan, participated in the workshop. Modi called for making a regional air ambulance agreement among neighbouring countries for “medical contingencies”.

PM Modi speaks with Australian counterpart Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 18, 2021 spoke with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison. Modi said both the countries reiterated their commitment to consolidate Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and discussed regional issues of common interest.

Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad features in TIME magazine’s list

Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad has featured in TIME magazine’s annual list of 100 “emerging leaders who are shaping the future”. The 2021 TIME100 Next, released on February 17, 2021 also has five Indian-origin personalities: Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde, U.K.’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, Instacart founder & CEO Apoorva Mehta, doctor & Executive Director of nonprofit Get Us PPE Shikha Gupta and founder of nonprofit Upsolve, Rohan Pavuluri.

Veteran Congress leader Captain Satish Sharma passes away at 73

Captain Satish Sharma, Congress leader and former Union Petroleum Minister (1993-1996) in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government, passed away on February 17, 2021 at the age of 73. Capt. Sharma, a former airline pilot, had represented the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency in 1991 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

L&T delivers 100th K9 Vajra tracked self-propelled howitzer to Army

Army Chief Gen Manoj Naravane on February 18, 2021 flagged off the 100th K9 Vajra tracked self-propelled howitzer built by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) at its armoured system complex at Hazira in Gujarat. With this, L&T had completed the delivery of all the howitzers under the contract awarded in May 2017 ahead of schedule. The 155mm, 52 calibre K9 Vajra is built by L&T with technology transfer from South Korean defence major Hanwha Defense, and is based on its K9 Thunder.

S. Jaishankar participates in virtual ministerial meeting of Quad

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar participated in a virtual ministerial meeting of the Quad along with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Foreign Ministers Marise Payne of Australia and Toshimitsu Motegi Japan on February 18, 2021.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla meets Russian Deputy Foreign Minister

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on February 17, 2021 met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov in Moscow and held political consultations on a wide range of issues pertaining to the bilateral ties, including the schedule of the upcoming political contacts.

Economy & Corporate

Labour bureau to conduct five nationwide surveys to check job data inaccuracies

The lack of data on workers, which was evident during the COVID-19-induced lockdown in 2020, would be addressed by the five all-India labour surveys being conducted by the Labour Bureau, Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said on February 18, 2021. The surveys will be conducted in five regional languages (Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Assamese and Malayalam) along with English and Hindi. The minister released instruction manuals with questionnaires for the five pan-India surveys being conducted by the Labour Bureau. The five all India surveys being undertaken by Labour Bureau are: 1) All India Survey on Migrant workers, 2) All India Survey on Domestic Workers (DW), 3) All India Survey on Employment Generated by Professionals, 4) All India Survey on Employment Generated in Transport Sector, 5) All-India Quarterly Establishment- based Employment Survey.

Pralhad Joshi inaugurates production in two new iron ore mines of Odisha

Union Minister for Mines, Pralhad Joshi and Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik on February 18, 2021, jointly inaugurated the production in two new iron ore mines of Odisha namely Jiling-Langlota Iron ore Block and Guali Iron ore Block. Both the mines have production capacity of 15 lakh tonnes per month and they possess approx. 275 million tonnes of consolidated iron ore reserves.

RBI approves DHFL resolution plan from Piramal Capital and Housing Finance

The Reserve Bank of India has cleared the acquisition of Diwan Housing Finance Corporation by Piramal Capital And Housing Finance. DHFL was sent to bankruptcy court in December 2019 after the company defaulted to its lenders on debt worth Rs 90,000 crore. The promoters of the company are currently in jail and are facing money laundering charges. Piramal’s plan is to recover Rs 37,250 crore over the next five years for DHFL’s lenders.

World

Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting held on the Legal aspects of COVID-19

Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice, on behalf of Union Minister for Law & Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, represented India in the Commonwealth High Level Law Ministers Meeting on the Legal aspects of COVID-19. The meeting, chaired by the Law Minister of Sri Lanka, was organised in virtual mode by Commonwealth Secretariat on February 18, 2021. The event provided an opportunity to the Law Ministers to share views and experiences on solutions to key legal challenges amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indian appointed Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of UNDP

India’s Usha Rao-Monari, a leading investment professional, has been appointed by UN chief Antonio Guterres as Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of the UNDP.

US: Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dies at 70

Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio host who was one of the most powerful voices on the American right, influencing the rightward push of conservatism and the rise of Donald Trump, died on February 18, 2021 at the age of 70.

U.S. will pay over $200 million in WHO contributions, says Antony Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that his country would pay the World Health Organization (WHO) $200 million by the end of February 2021. The announcement is significant as former U.S. President Donald Trump had begun the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the WHO.

Facebook blocks Australians from accessing news on platform

Facebook announced on February 18, 2021 that it has blocked Australians from viewing and sharing news on the platform because of proposed laws in the country to make digital giants pay for journalism. Australian publishers can continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts can’t be viewed or shared by Australian audiences.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announces his resignation

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced his resignation on February 18, 2021, following a court ruling that ordered the arrest of a man who leads the ex-Soviet nation’s top opposition party. Gakharia said he was stepping down because of disagreements within his own team over the decision to arrest Nika Melia, chairman of the United National Movement opposition party.

Sports

Seiko Hashimoto (56) named President of Tokyo Olympic organising committee

Former Olympian Seiko Hashimoto (56) was named as president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee after a meeting of its executive board. She replaces 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese prime minister who was forced to resign recently after making sexist comments about women.

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for February 19, 2021

INDIA

PM Modi launches ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ project in Assam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 18, 2021 launched the ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ initiative in Assam. The programme is aimed at providing seamless connectivity to the eastern parts of India and includes various development activities for the people living around River Brahmaputra and River Barak. As part of ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ programme, he inaugurated the Ro-Pax vessel operations between Neamati-Majuli Island, North Guwahati-South Guwahati and Dhubri-Hatsingimari. He also laid the foundation stone of Inland Water Transport (IWT) Terminal at Jogighopa and various tourist jetties on River Brahmaputra.

PM Modi lays foundation stone of Dhubri Phulbari bridge over Brahmaputra

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 18, 2021 laid the foundation stone for Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge over Brahmaputra river. The 19 km long 4-lane bridge from Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya will improve connectivity in Barak Valley and will reduce distance between Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Assam. The distance between Meghalaya and Assam is about 250 km by road now it will be reduced to just 19-20 km.

India hosts online workshop on ‘COVID-19 Management’, 10 nations participate

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a Workshop on ‘COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward’ with nearly 10 Neighboring Countries on February 18, 2021. India hosted a Secretary-level virtual meeting on COVID-19 management with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. SAARC nations, including Pakistan, participated in the workshop. Modi called for making a regional air ambulance agreement among neighbouring countries for “medical contingencies”.

PM Modi speaks with Australian counterpart Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 18, 2021 spoke with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison. Modi said both the countries reiterated their commitment to consolidate Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and discussed regional issues of common interest.

Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad features in TIME magazine’s list

Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad has featured in TIME magazine’s annual list of 100 “emerging leaders who are shaping the future”. The 2021 TIME100 Next, released on February 17, 2021 also has five Indian-origin personalities: Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde, U.K.’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, Instacart founder & CEO Apoorva Mehta, doctor & Executive Director of nonprofit Get Us PPE Shikha Gupta and founder of nonprofit Upsolve, Rohan Pavuluri.

Veteran Congress leader Captain Satish Sharma passes away at 73

Captain Satish Sharma, Congress leader and former Union Petroleum Minister (1993-1996) in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government, passed away on February 17, 2021 at the age of 73. Capt. Sharma, a former airline pilot, had represented the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency in 1991 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

L&T delivers 100th K9 Vajra tracked self-propelled howitzer to Army

Army Chief Gen Manoj Naravane on February 18, 2021 flagged off the 100th K9 Vajra tracked self-propelled howitzer built by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) at its armoured system complex at Hazira in Gujarat. With this, L&T had completed the delivery of all the howitzers under the contract awarded in May 2017 ahead of schedule. The 155mm, 52 calibre K9 Vajra is built by L&T with technology transfer from South Korean defence major Hanwha Defense, and is based on its K9 Thunder.

S. Jaishankar participates in virtual ministerial meeting of Quad

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar participated in a virtual ministerial meeting of the Quad along with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Foreign Ministers Marise Payne of Australia and Toshimitsu Motegi Japan on February 18, 2021.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla meets Russian Deputy Foreign Minister

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on February 17, 2021 met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov in Moscow and held political consultations on a wide range of issues pertaining to the bilateral ties, including the schedule of the upcoming political contacts.

Economy & Corporate

Labour bureau to conduct five nationwide surveys to check job data inaccuracies

The lack of data on workers, which was evident during the COVID-19-induced lockdown in 2020, would be addressed by the five all-India labour surveys being conducted by the Labour Bureau, Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said on February 18, 2021. The surveys will be conducted in five regional languages (Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Assamese and Malayalam) along with English and Hindi. The minister released instruction manuals with questionnaires for the five pan-India surveys being conducted by the Labour Bureau. The five all India surveys being undertaken by Labour Bureau are: 1) All India Survey on Migrant workers, 2) All India Survey on Domestic Workers (DW), 3) All India Survey on Employment Generated by Professionals, 4) All India Survey on Employment Generated in Transport Sector, 5) All-India Quarterly Establishment- based Employment Survey.

Pralhad Joshi inaugurates production in two new iron ore mines of Odisha

Union Minister for Mines, Pralhad Joshi and Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik on February 18, 2021, jointly inaugurated the production in two new iron ore mines of Odisha namely Jiling-Langlota Iron ore Block and Guali Iron ore Block. Both the mines have production capacity of 15 lakh tonnes per month and they possess approx. 275 million tonnes of consolidated iron ore reserves.

RBI approves DHFL resolution plan from Piramal Capital and Housing Finance

The Reserve Bank of India has cleared the acquisition of Diwan Housing Finance Corporation by Piramal Capital And Housing Finance. DHFL was sent to bankruptcy court in December 2019 after the company defaulted to its lenders on debt worth Rs 90,000 crore. The promoters of the company are currently in jail and are facing money laundering charges. Piramal’s plan is to recover Rs 37,250 crore over the next five years for DHFL’s lenders.

World

Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting held on the Legal aspects of COVID-19

Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice, on behalf of Union Minister for Law & Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, represented India in the Commonwealth High Level Law Ministers Meeting on the Legal aspects of COVID-19. The meeting, chaired by the Law Minister of Sri Lanka, was organised in virtual mode by Commonwealth Secretariat on February 18, 2021. The event provided an opportunity to the Law Ministers to share views and experiences on solutions to key legal challenges amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indian appointed Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of UNDP

India’s Usha Rao-Monari, a leading investment professional, has been appointed by UN chief Antonio Guterres as Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of the UNDP.

US: Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dies at 70

Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio host who was one of the most powerful voices on the American right, influencing the rightward push of conservatism and the rise of Donald Trump, died on February 18, 2021 at the age of 70.

U.S. will pay over $200 million in WHO contributions, says Antony Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that his country would pay the World Health Organization (WHO) $200 million by the end of February 2021. The announcement is significant as former U.S. President Donald Trump had begun the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the WHO.

Facebook blocks Australians from accessing news on platform

Facebook announced on February 18, 2021 that it has blocked Australians from viewing and sharing news on the platform because of proposed laws in the country to make digital giants pay for journalism. Australian publishers can continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts can’t be viewed or shared by Australian audiences.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announces his resignation

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced his resignation on February 18, 2021, following a court ruling that ordered the arrest of a man who leads the ex-Soviet nation’s top opposition party. Gakharia said he was stepping down because of disagreements within his own team over the decision to arrest Nika Melia, chairman of the United National Movement opposition party.

Sports

Seiko Hashimoto (56) named President of Tokyo Olympic organising committee

Former Olympian Seiko Hashimoto (56) was named as president of the Tokyo Olympic organising committee after a meeting of its executive board. She replaces 83-year-old Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese prime minister who was forced to resign recently after making sexist comments about women.

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