Top 19 Current Affairs – January 9, 2020

1. IRCTC to start 2 Bharat Darshan Special tourist trains from Tirunelveli (TN)

Two Bharat Darshan Special tourist trains from Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) covering Jyotirlinga temples and Ramayana related places across the country would be operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC). The 13-day Mahashivratri Nava Jyotirlinga Special Express will leave Tirunelveli on February 19 while the 14-day Ramayana Yatra Special Express will leave on March 5.

2. Facial recognition technology installed at Bengaluru, Manmad and Bhusawal railway stations

Facial recognition technology backed by artificial intelligence has been installed at Bengaluru, Manmad and Bhusawal stations as test cases to identify and nab criminals, railway officials said on January 8, 2020.

3. National importance status to be granted to Ayurveda institutions at Gujarat Ayurved University

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on January 8, 2020 gave its approval to confer the status of Institution of National Importance (INI) to the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar, by conglomerating the cluster of Ayurveda Institutes at Gujarat Ayurveda University (GAU) campus, Jamnagar.

4. ASCEND 2020 Global Investors Meet being organised by Kerala govt. in Kochi

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate a two-day ASCEND 2020 Global Investors Meet in Kochi on January 9, 2020, giving momentum to a series of policies and procedural reforms to improve the ‘ease of doing business’ in Kerala.

5. 31st International Kite Festival being organised in Ahmedabad

The 31st International Kite Festival is being organised in Ahmedabad from January 7 to 13, 2020. The Festival was inaugurated by Gujarat governor Acharya Devvrat and CM Vijay Rupani at Sabarmati Riverfront.

6. Gujarat Govt. to set up Vikram Sarabhai Children Innovation Center (VSCIC)

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on January 6, 2020 announced the setting up of the Vikram Sarabhai Children Innovation Center (VSCIC) to identify, nurture and promote children’s innovation in the state.

7. CCEA approves strategic disinvestment of shareholding of PSUs in Neelachal Ispat Nigam

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has given ‘in principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of equity shareholding of Minerals & Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC) (49.78%), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) (10.10%), MECON (0.68%) and Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) (0.68%) and two Odisha State Government PSUs namely; Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha (IPICOL) (12.00%) and Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) (20.47%) in Neelachal Ispat Nigam (NINL) to a strategic buyer, identified through a two-stage auction procedure.

8. CCEA approves 1656 km North East Gas Grid project of Indradhanush Gas Grid

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the 1656 km North East Gas Grid project of Indradhanush Gas Grid with viability Gap Funding/ Capital Grant at 60% of the estimated cost of Rs 9265 crore. As per the plan, Gas Pipeline Grid would be developed in the eight states of the North-Eastern region i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

9. M. Nagaraj appointed CMD of PSU Housing and HUDCO

State-owned Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) on January 8, 2020 said that M. Nagaraj has been appointed the company’s Chairman and Managing Director.

10. SBI launches ‘residential builder finance with buyer guarantee’ (RBBG) scheme

State Bank of India on January 8, 2020 announced a ‘residential builder finance with buyer guarantee’ (RBBG) scheme aimed at giving a push to residential sales and improve homebuyers’ confidence. SBI will issue a guarantee for completion of select residential projects to customers which have availed home loans from it.

11. Kiev bound Ukraine International Airlines aircraft crashes shortly after take-off from Tehran killing all

A Boeing 737-800, operated by Ukraine International Airlines and bound for Kiev, crashed shortly after take-off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran killing all 176 people onboard on January 8, 2020.

12. Japan tops Henley Passport Index; Afghanistan last

Japan has topped the Henley Passport Index in which a country’s ranking is based on the number of countries its holders can enter without prior visa approval. Japanese citizens can enter 191 countries while either without a visa or a visa on arrival. Afghanistan is ranked last at 107th. Afghan nationals can only travel to 26 countries without a visa.

13. Selfie museum called Selfie Kingdom (TSK) inaugurated in Dubai

A first-of-its-kind “selfie museum” called Selfie Kingdom (TSK) was inaugurated in Dubai on January 7, 2020 to promote an interactive photo-friendly social space through art and creativity.

14. Jasbinder Bilan wins 2019 Costa Children’s Award in UK

India-born author Jasbinder Bilan has won the 2019 Costa Children’s Award in UK for her book ‘Asha and the Spirit Bird’

15. Spain: Pedro Sanchez takes oath as Prime Minister

Pedro Sanchez of Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party took the oath as the country’s prime minister on January 8, 2020, a day after his proposal to form a leftist coalition government narrowly won a parliamentary confidence vote with support from smaller parties.

16. 936-km TurkStream line for transporting natural gas from Russia to Turkey inaugurated

The presidents of Turkey and Russia inaugurated the 936-km TurkStream dual natural gas line connecting their countries on January 8, 2020. TurkStream allows Russia to bypass Ukraine by opening up a new direct transport line to Turkey

17. Pakistan’s Parliament pass bills to give extension to Army chief for three years

Pakistan’s Parliament has passed three crucial bills to give extension to Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for three years after the Supreme Court pointed out irregularities in the manner in which he was granted a fresh term by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government. The bills were passed by National Assembly on January 7 and Senate on January 8.

18. India will be the guest of honour at the Paris Book Fair in March 2020

India will be the guest of honour at the Paris Book Fair 2020 to be held in March this year, organisers announced on January 7, 2020.

19. Ladakh wins 7th National Ice Hockey Championship Women trophy in Leh

Ladakh defeated Delhi 2-1 in final played at the Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink in Leh on January 7, 2020 to win the 7th National Ice Hockey Championship Women trophy.

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