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Current Affairs January 29 2020

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We are here for you to provide the important Recent and Latest Current Affairs 29 January 2020, which have unique updates of Latest Current Affairs 2020 events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, PTI, Indian Express, Business Standard and all Government official websites.

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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Vanilla’ to aid the cyclone-hit Madagascar
On January 28, 2020, the Indian Navy(IN) launched ‘Operation Vanilla’. The purpose of this operation is to support and provide assistance to Tropical Cyclone Diane & flood-hit Madagascar.  The Indian Navy Ship(INS) Airavat has been deployed to this mission.  Indian Navy is the first responder for Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Key points:
i.Madagascar is hit by heavy floods and landslips for a week which caused loss of lives and displacement and has affected nearly 92,000 people. The president of Madagascar has also requested for international mobilization.
ii.After the Madagascar president’s request, as the first respondent, it was then decided to immediately divert INS Airavat enroute to Seychelles, to Madagascar.
iii.The assistance has been provided in consonance with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)’. It is also to be noted that Madagascar is a member of the inter-governmental organisation Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
About Madagascar:
Capital- Antananarivo (also the largest city).
Currency- Malagasy ariary.
President- Andry Nirina Rajoelina.
Prime Minister- Christian Louis Ntsay.

10 more wetlands from India declared as Ramsar sites
On January 28, 2020 in an effort to improve the conservation, restoration and rejuvenation of wetlands, the Ramsar Convention has declared 10 more wetland sites from India as sites of national importance. Ramsar sites are those which are declared under the Ramsar Convention signed in 1971 to preserve wetlands of national importance. Thus India now has a total of 37 Ramsar sites covering an area of 1,067,939 hectares.
i.10 Ramsar sites: The 10 newly added Ramsar sites are as follows:

  • Nandur Madhameshwar: This is the 1st Ramsar site of Maharashtra.
  • Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve, Nangal: These 3  ramsar sites are newly added to Punjab. Apart from these 3 sites, Punjab already has 3 ramsar sites. Thus the total ramsar sites in the states counts to 6.
  • Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and SarsaiNawar: These 6 Ramsar sites have been newly added to Uttar Pradesh (UP) apart from 1 ramsar site it already had. Thus, UP now has 7 Ramsar sites.

ii.Ramsar convention: It is the convention on wetlands formed by  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in February 2, 1971 and came into force in 1975. The convention is named after Ramsar city of Iran where it was signed….Click here to Read More

PM Modi Addressed 3rd Global Potato Conclave held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat
On January 28, 2020 the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi addressed the 3rd edition of the Global Potato Conclave at Gandhinagar, Gujarat through video conference. The 4-day conclave from January 28-31 is being organised by Indian Potato Association (IPA) in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR), New Delhi, and ICAR-Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh and International Potato Center (CIP), Lima, Peru.
3 major events are also being witnessed in the event. They are Potato Conference, Agri Expo and Potato Field Day.

  • Gujarat in potato production: Gujarat is the leading state in potato production and productivity in India and holds the no.1 position for the last one decade. The area under potato cultivation has increased by about 20% over the past 11 years, while it has increased 170% in Gujarat in the same period.
  • Themes: The 3rd edition of the potato conference is based on 10 themes out of which 8 themes are based on basic and applied research.
  • Record created: A new record was created recently were an amount of Rs. 12,000 crores were transferred directly to the bank accounts of 6 crore farmers under the Direct Benefit Transfer(DBT)facility….Click here to Read More

World’s largest meditation centre opened in Hyderabad, Telangana
On January 28, 2020 the World’s largest meditation centre was inaugurated at Kanha Shanti Vanam in Hyderabad, Telangana to mark the 75th anniversary of the formation of Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM) and Heartfulness Institute. The center is dedicated to the first guide of Heartfulness Lalaji Maharaji. It can accommodate 1 lakh practitioners at a time.
Key Points:
i.The meditation center is built in 30 acres with a central hall and eight peripheral halls.
ii.To celebrate the 75th anniversary, special sessions will be addressed by President Ram Nath Kovind on February 2, 2020 and social activist Anna Hazare on February 8, 2020.
iii.Participants: The popular yoga guru, Baba Ramdev, Kamlesh Patel  (Daaji), the present guide of Heartfulness.
iv.The Heartfulness facility is spread over 1,400 acres which consists of largest meditation centre, a self-sustained kitchen that can make food for 1 lakh people a day and 350 bed- Ayush medical facility to come up in a few days.
About Telangana:
Chief Minister- K. Chandrashekar Rao
Governor- Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan
State Flower- Senna auriculata
State Tree- Jand
State Animal- Chital
State Bird- Indian roller

Government to release the report of 100 Smarts Cities in June 2020
The Government of India (GoI) is to release the report card of 100 selected smart cities in June, 2020 as the Smart Cities Mission completes its five year. This report will be released in three categories, namely ease of living index, municipal performance index and climatic index.
Key Points:
i.On June 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Smart Cities Mission with the mission to develop 100 Smart Cities across the country.
ii.Ease of Living index: Under this index 35 percent weightage will be given “to quality of life”, 20 percent to “sustainability”, 20 percent to “economic viability” and 30 percent to “citizen participation”.
iii.Municipal Performance index: Under this index 30 percent weightage will be given for “services”, 20 percent for “finance”, 15 percent for “technology”, 15 percent for “planning”, 20 percent for “governance”.
iv.Climatic index: Under this index cities will be ranked for promoting environment related issues.
v.According to the Ministry, the tender issued for Smart Cities Project is Rs 1,62,000 crore and the value of all completed projects is more than Rs 25,000 crores.

SC allows govt to bring African cheetah to suitable wildlife habitat in India
On January 28, 2020 the Supreme Court(SC) has allowed the govt. to introduce African Cheetah in a suitable wildlife habitat in India including Kuno-Palpur (Kuno National Park) in Madhya Pradesh. The decision was taken after a petition was filed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to introduce the African Cheetah from Namibia as the rare Indian Cheetah that has become almost extinct in India.
Key Points:
i.3-member panel: A 3-member committee was set up to take a decision on this issue. The committee comprised of former Director of Wildlife Trust of India(WTI) Shri Ranjit Singh; Director General(DG) of Wildlife of India Shri Dhananjay Mohan; and Deputy Inspector General(DIG), Wildlife under the Ministry of Environment and Forests(MoE&F).
ii.Report submission: According to a bench comprised by Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, the court will monitor the project where its committee will have to submit its report every 4 months.
About National Tiger Conservation Authority(NCTA):
Founded- December 2005.
Chairperson- Prakash Keshav Javadekar (Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change).

MGNREGA scheme faces fund crunch as 96% funds been spent
On January 26, 2020, as per Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme’s financial statement, the govt is on the verge of running out of funds for the MGNREGA scheme. It has been announced that more than 96% of the allocated money to the fund has been spent and is still needed to pay the pending dues. Less than Rs. 2500 crore is left to sustain the scheme for the next two months.
Key Points:
i.15 states currently have negative net balance. Out of them Rajasthan has the highest negative net balance of Rs 640 crore followed by Uttar Pradesh with Rs.323 crores.
ii.Budget allocation: This year’s budget allocation was Rs 60,000 crore. This is lower than the amount spent in the previous year.

Country’s 1st and biggest ‘walk-through’ aviary inaugurated at Byculla Zoo in Maharashtra
On January 26, 2020, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the country’s first and biggest  ‘walk-through’ aviary in Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo also known as Byculla Zoo in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Key Points:
i.The aviary is spread over in 18,234 sq ft, is 44 feet tall and consists of 100 species of Indian and exotic birds.
ii.The special enclosures for animals like bears, hyenas, leopards, fox, barasingha and antelope are completed and Asiatic Lion, tigers will be included soon.
iii.He also inaugurated ‘Miyawaki’ method, at Bhakti Park in Wadala, Maharashtra to increase cover in Mumbai. This method is about planting maximum trees in minimum area and it will be implemented in 64 locations in the state. Nearly 40 types of trees will be planted using this method.
iv.Participants: Tourism Minister of Mahrashtra Aaditya Thackeray, Mumbai City’s Guardian Minister Aslam Shaikh, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi and Mumbai Zoo Director Dr Sanjay Tripathi.
About Maharashtra:
Chief Minister- Uddhav Thackeray
Governor- Bhagat Singh Koshyari
Capital City- Mumbai
State Animal- Indian giant squirrel
State Bird- Yellow-footed green pigeon
State Tree- Mangifera indica
State Flower- Pride of India

ICG commissioned high-speed interceptor boat C-448 in Mangaluru, Karnataka
On January 29, 2020, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has commissioned a 3rd high-speed interceptor boat C-448 in Mangaluru, Karnataka. The boat will be operational under the administrative control of Commander of the Coast Guard Region (West) Inspector General AP Badola. Apart from this, it was also announced that Karnataka govt through its Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB), had sanctioned 160 acres of land in Kenjar for the Indian Coast Guard Academy (ICGA) in Mangaluru at a total cost of Rs 1,010 crore.
Key Points:
i.This interceptor boat built by L&T (Larsen & Toubro) shipyard will have a crew of 12 personnel commanded by Assistant Commandant Apoorva Sharma. The boat will be used for patrolling and rescue operations.
ii.Boat features: The boat is equipped with an infrared system for night surveillance can perform high speed interception, low-intensity maritime operations etc. It has an endurance of 500 nautical miles at 20 knots and can reach a maximum speed of 45 knots
iii.Members present: The ICG was commissioned by T.M. Vijaya Bhasker, Chief Secretary Karnataka; Anand Prakash Badola, Commander, Coast Guard Region (West) and A.V. Ramana, Chairman of the New Mangalore Port Trust, and other officials were present on the occasion.

Overview of Cabinet Approval on Jan 29, 2020
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals on January 29, 2020.
Official amendments in the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 approved:
The CCEA has approved for the official amendments in the National Commission for Homeopathy Bill (NCH)2019. This bill which is currently pending in the Rajya Sabha, will amend the Homoeopathy Central Council (HCC) Act, 1973.
Key Points:
i.Amendment features: The amendment will make reforms in the field of Homoeopathy education and enable transparency and accountability to protect the interest of the public. Through these amendments, affordable healthcare services will be enhanced.
Homoeopathy Central Council (HCC) Act, 1973:
The act was enacted to constitute Central Council of Homoeopathy for regulation of education and practice of Homoeopathy inorder to maintain the central register of homeopathy and the matters concerned with it.
This HCC act was formed based on the patterns of Indian Medical Council Act, 1956….Click here to Read More

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

UK Govt launches £4 Million pound Innovation challenge fund in India
On  January 28, 2020, The government of UK (United Kingdom) has launched a £4 Mn (about Rs 37 crore)Innovation Challenge Fund’ in India at an event in Pune, Maharashtra. The fund is focused on 2 main tech platforms including artificial intelligence (AI) and big data in Karnataka and future mobility in Maharashtra.
Key Points:
i.The fund, which is one of several new initiatives of the UK-India Tech Partnership, is aimed to boost industry and academia to collaborate & develop tech solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges in India.
ii.This Partnership, a world 1st, which was announced in April 2018 , was approved by the Prime Ministers (PM) of India & Britain with an aim to promote technologies to support innovation, growth, and jobs in both nations.
About UK (United Kingdom):
Capital
– London
Prime Minister– Boris Johnson
Head of the UK-India tech partnership– Karen McLuskie
British Deputy High Commissioner to India– Jan Thompson

India’s crude steel production rose by 1.8 % to 111.2 MT in 2019: WSA
January 28, 2020, According to World Steel Association (WSA), the international trade body for the iron and steel industry , India’s crude steel production increased to 111.2 million tonne (MT) in 2019, showing a 1.8 % hike over 2018 (109.3 MT).
India ranked 2nd in top 10 steel-producing countries as Asian steel producers leads as key drivers behind a 3.4 % surge in global crude steel output to 1 1,869.9 MT in 2019.

  • China ranked 1st as the largest steel producer in 2019 at 996.3 MT, up by 8.3 % on 2018. Hence, China’s share of global crude steel production increased from 50.9% in 2018 to 53.% in 2019. China was followed by India (2nd ), Japan (3rd), which produced 99.3 MT in 2019, a decrement of 4.8 % as against 2018.
  • Except Asia and the Middle East nations, all other regions during the calendar year 2019 witnessed a contraction in steel output….Click here to Read More

Britain unveils new 50 pence coin to mark its departure from EU
On January 26, 2020, Britain has unveiled the new 50 pence coin to mark the country’s departure from the European Union (EU). The coin bears the inscription “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” and the Brexit date of 31 January 2020.
Key Points:
i.From January 31, 2020, about three million coins will be disturbed from banks, post offices and nearly seven million coins will come to circulation later.
ii.The first coin was presented by Britain’s Finance Minister Sajid Javid.
iii.Brexit: Brexit is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the EU. On January 22, 2020, the UK (United Kingdom) Parliament has given approval to EU withdrawal agreement. Thus the UK will leave the EU on January 31, 2020.
About UK:
Capital- London
Currency- Pound Sterling

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

NTPC to develop 300 MW solar power projects in West African country Togo
On January 28, 2020,According to the Power Ministry, Government of India (GoI),  West African country Togo has appointed NTPC ( formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited), India’s largest energy conglomerate, as its project management consultant (PMC) for about 300 MW (MegaWatt) of solar power projects in Togo. Togo has identified 2 different plots of land- one each of 70 and 500 acres in Dapaong (Dalwak region) & Mango (Savanes region ) respectively, that will combine to produce 283 MW.
With this, Togo become the 1st ISA (International Solar Alliance ) nation to get the services of NTPC.

  • NTPC will undertake various activities for selection of the Solar Project Developers (SPDs) on competitive basis and sign Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with respective government departments.
  • As a PMC, NTPC will make presentations to the concerned ministries and other stakeholders in ISA nations for the structuring of projects, assistance to formulate policy and regulatory guidelines for competitive procurement of solar power, management of the bidding and other such activities.
  • Based on the above Letter of Endorsement, Togo will not incur any costs for this project.Mean while, the NTPC will get its charges from the bidders….Click here to Read More

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS        

Abhijit Banerjee conferred D Litt by Alma mater Calcutta University On January 28, 2020, Nobel Prize winner in economics Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee conferred with the honorary D Litt (Doctor of Literature) by his alma mater Calcutta University in Kolkata, West Bengal. Abhijit was awarded Nobel Prize in 2019 for an “Experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. He is one of the directors of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), United States of America (USA) founded in 2003.
Key Points:
i.Banerjee had pursued his graduation in economics from the Presidency University, Kolkata and secured first class first rank in Kolkata University in 1981.
ii.Other awardees: Astrophysicist J V Narlikar was conferred Sir Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Medal. Scientists Samir K Brahmachari, Arup Kumar Raychaudhuri and Partha Pratim Majumder were bestowed the Sir Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray Medal.

Environmentalist Pavan Sukhdev and Prof. Gretchen C. Daily won the Tyler Prize 2020 for Environmental AchievementOn January 27, 2020 the Indian environmentalist and Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Pavan Sukhdev won Tyler Prize 2020 for Environmental Achievement for his groundbreaking “green economy” work along with conservation biologist Gretchen C. Daily from United States (US).
i.
The winners will be awarded at the private ceremony on May 1, 2020 in presence of the Tyler Prize Executive Committee and distinguished members of the international environmental community  at the Intercontinental Barclay Hotel in New York City, United States (US).
ii.On April 30, 2020 Pavan Sukhdev and Gretchen C. Daily will deliver public presentation of their work at the New York Academy of Science in New York, US….Click here to Read More

Noted Theatre artist Sanjna Kapoor gets French honour ‘Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters’ in New Delhi On January 28, 2020, Sanjna Kapoor (52), an Indian theatre personality and former British film actress of Indian and British descent, was awarded the prestigious French honour of ‘Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters)  for her outstanding contribution to the field of theater.
Key Points:

i.She was honored by French Minister of Culture Franck Riester, who was currently on an official visit to India.
ii.She currently operates Mumbai-based theater company ‘Junoon’, which works towards spreading the arts to a wider audience through the spread of theater and new initiatives.
Kapoor ,a daughter of Hindi film actor Shashi Kapoor and British actress Jennifer Kendal, made her debut with Aparna Sen’s 36 Chowringhee Lane'(1981). She was the lead actress in ‘Hero Hiralal’ (1989) and also appeared in Meera Nair’s Salaam Bombay (1988).
About Chevalier dans lOrdre des Arts et des Lettres:
French government instituted this award in 1957 to honor people who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the fields of art or literature, or for their contribution to promoting the arts and literature in France and throughout the world.
Past recipients of this award include Shahrukh Khan, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Aishwarya Rai, Raghu Rai,etc.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS       

Vakrangee appoints Ramesh Joshi as its Non-Executive chairman as per Kotak committee recommendations On January 27, 2020, Vakrangee Limited, a technology company, has appointed Mr. Ramesh Joshi (EX-RBI (Reserve Bank of India & EX-SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) ED- Executive Director) as its Non-Executive Chairman on the lines of Kotak’s board constituted Nomination & Remuneration Committee chaired by Mrs. Farida Khambata. The company also appoints Mr. Dinesh Nandwana, Executive Chairman as its Managing Director (MD) and Group CEO, replacing Mr. Anil Khanna.
Key Points:
i.This restricting aims to promote high-level standards of Corporate governance and as per the Mr. Uday Kotak Committee recommendations and SEBI’s (Securities and Exchange Board of India) revised Listing Obligations and Disclosure Regulations (Regulation 17(1B) of SEBI LODR, 2015).
ii.Ramesh has over 40+ years of experience by holding a position as Nominee Director on behalf of RBI on the Boards of Various Banks and retired as an Executive Director of SEBI. While Mr.Dinesh has about 27+ years of business experience & manages the overall business at Vakrangee since its operation in 1990.
iii.Background: In June 2017, SEBI had constituted a panel on corporate governance under the Chairmanship of Uday Kotak with a view to improve the standards of corporate governance of listed entities in India. Based on its Recommendations, in May 2018, SEBI amended rule to divide the positions of chairman and MD / CEO of the top 500 listed companies.
About Vakrangee Limited:
Founded– 1990
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu appointed as India’s Ambassador to US
On January 28, 2020  diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu has been appointed as India’s Ambassador to the United States of America (USA). He succeeded Harsh Vardhan Shringla who will take charge as the next foreign secretary. The appointment was confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Key Points:
i.1988-batch Indian Foreign Service officer (IFS), Taranjit Singh Sandhu currently serves as the High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka.
ii.He also wants to deal with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and H1B visas in Washington D.C as top Indian diplomat.
iii.He also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission of India in Washington D.C. at US from July 2013 to January 2017 and he was the Secretary (Political) at Embassy of India, Washington, D.C.  from 1997 to 2000.
iv.From 2011 to 2013 he worked as Consul General of India in Frankfurt, Germany.
About US:
Capital- Washington D.C
Currency- United States Dollar
President- Donald Trump
About Ministry of External Affairs:
Founded- September 2, 1946
Headquarters- New Delhi
Ministry- Subrahmanyam Jaishankar

Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani appointed as new PM of QatarOn January 28,2020 Tamim bin Hamad AI Thani, Emir of Qatar appointed Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani as new Prime Minister (PM) of Qatar, Doha. He is the successor of  Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani who has resigned from the post. Sheikh Khalid is currently serving as the chief of the Amiri Diwan, the emir’s office.
Key Points:
i.Sheikh Khalid was born in Doha in 1968 and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in the United States of America in 1993.
ii.He worked at Qatar Liquefied Gas Company Limited, until 2002.
iii.He later served in the Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2002 and 2006.
iv.The new changes in Qatar are due to the FIFA World Cup 2020 which is going to be held in Qatar December 2020 & and also to boost its national economy.
About Qatar:
Capital- Doha.
Currency- Qatari riyal.

England’s Alastair Cook and ex-West Indies team manager Ricky Skerritt appointed as the members of MCC’s World Cricket Committee
On January 27, 2020, Former England opener Alastair Nathan Cook and ex-West Indies team manager Richard ‘Ricky’ Skerritt were appointed as the new members of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), World Cricket Committee. The pair will replace former West Indies fast bowler Ian Raphael Bishop and Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
Key Points:
i.In 2018 Alastair Cook has announced his retirement. He was England’s leading Test match run-scorer with 12,472 runs in his 162 matches.
ii.In 2019 Ricky Skerritt has appointed as the President of Cricket West Indies. He was also held several portfolios in the West Indies ministry between 2004 and 2014.
iii.In March 2020, the next MCC World Cricket committee meeting will be hosted in Sri Lanka.
About MCC: It is an independent panel of former and current players and umpires that can propose changes to the cricket laws.
Founded- 1787
Headquarters- London, United Kingdom (UK)

   SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Researchers at IIT-H develops essential-oil-based drug carrier to treat fungal diseases
On January 29, 2020, Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H), Telangana has developed a new essential-oil-based system of delivering medicines to the body for the treatment of fungal infections such as vaginal infections, diaper rash, athletes foot and nail fungus caused by the Candida family of fungi.
Key Points:
i.Supported by the SERB (Scientific & Engineering Research Board) under the  Department of Science and Technology (DST) & Corporate social responsibility (CSR) support from AT&T, an American multinational conglomerate, this medication can even fights against fungi that have created immunity against traditional medicines.
ii.The research, published in the journal Materialia, has been led by Mudrika Khandelwal, Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, IIT H.
iii.Researchers chose polylactic acid microcapsules to encase aromatic oils. P polylactic acid microcapsules are completely organic waste. They are used extensively in the medical field. In order to control the burst release of the ingredients,they used microcapsules that contained the active substances further incorporated into a secondary barrier made of nanofibrous bacterial cellulose.

Dr Jitendra Singh launched ISRO’s Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0 Web portal On January 28,2020 Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, MoS PMO (Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office), Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space launched the Bhuvan Panchayat Version V 3.0 web portal in Antariksh Bhavan Bengaluru, Karnataka to support Gram Panchayat Development planning in the country.
The Minister also released the technical documents related to SISDP (Space Based Information Support for Decentralised Planning Update)- Update Project.
About Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0 web portal:
i.The web portal has been developed by National Remote Sensing Center (NRSC), Hyderabad, Telangana.
ii.About NRSC: NRSC is one of the centres of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) that manages data from aerial & satellite resources.
iii.The Web portal will enhance network application of gram Panchayats & will function with the help of satellite technology.
iv.The Portal supports multiple tasks that makes work simpler for gram panchayats all over the country and also has responsive GUI (Graphical User Interface) for easy access.
v.This portal benefits around 2.56 lakh gram panchayats in India.
About SISDP-Update:
i.SISDP Project: ISRO launched SISDP project to assist Gram panchayats at grassroot level as per 73rd, 74th constitutional amendment of local self governance for preparing development plans and monitoring the activities.
ii.SISDP project was concluded in the year 2016-17.
iii.SISDP-Update: Based on the feedback on SIS-DP-1 Project “SISDP- Update” was initiated with enhanced goals of providing services to Gram Panchayat development planning process of MoPr (Ministry of Panchayati Raj).
iv.For the first time, thematic database (soil type, vegetation, geology, land use, or land ownership) on 1:10000 is available with high integrated High Resolution satellite data for planning.
Participants: ISRO chairman Dr K.Sivan and Sunil kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Panchayat Raj were present on this occasion.
About MoPR (Ministry of Panchayati Raj):
Headquarters- New Delhi.
Founded- 27 May 2004.
Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare & Panchayati Raj- Shri.Narendra Singh Tomar.

New mission launched by NASA & ESA to take first pics of Sun’s poles
On January 28, 2020, NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration) and ESA (European Space Agency) will jointly launch a new spacecraft- “The Solar Orbiter Spacecraft” to take first pictures of Sun’s north and south poles. It’s outlay is $1.5 billion. The spacecraft will be launched from Cape Canaveral, United States (US) on Feb 7, 2020 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V Rocket.
Mission: The solar orbiter mission has 7 year lifetime and will reach 24 degrees above the sun’s equator increasing to 33 degrees with additional 3 years extended mission operations. The spacecraft will pass within 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) of the sun which is the nearest approach. Solar Orbiter will pass inside the orbit of  Mercury carrying 4 in-situ instruments and six remote sensing imagers.
Key Points:
i.Spacecraft will use the gravity of Venus and Earth, rotate itself out of the ecliptic plane to take the snap of the Sun’s poles.
ii.The solar orbiter will directly have an on-view of solar winds on solar poles and find the 11-year cycle of sunspot waxes and wanes.
iii.Solar Orbiter will be the second major mission to the inner solar system after Parker Solar Probe in 2018.
iv.The European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Germany will operate Solar Orbiter after launch. Solar Orbiter is built by Airbus Defense and Space, and contains 10 instruments: 9 provided by ESA member states and ESA. NASA provided one instrument suite, SoloHI(Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager), detectors and hardware for three other instruments.
v.Ulysses spacecraft developed by NASA & ESA launched in 1990 & retired in 2009. Ulysses spacecraft never got closer to the sun & measure the space environment.
About NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration):
Founded- 29 July 1958.
Headquarters- Washington, D.C.,United States (US).
Founder- Dwight D. Eisenhour.

SPORTS

71st International Boxing tournament Strandja 2020 held in Sofia, Bulgaria; India bags 3 medals The 71st edition of International Boxing Tournament “Strandja”2020 was held in Sofia, Bulgaria from January 19-26, 2020. India ranked 9th in the medal tally with 3 medals (1 Silver, 2 Bronze). The list was topped by Ukraine with 10 medals (4 Gold, 1 silver, 5 Bronze).
List of Indian winners:

[su_table]

S.No Player Name Category Medal
1 Mohammed Hussamuddin 57kg Silver
2 Sonia Lather 57kg Bronze
3 Shiva Thapa 63kg Bronze

[/su_table]

Key Points:
i.More than 300 boxers from 30 countries have participated in the Tournament, which was jointly organized by International Boxing Association (AIBA) & EUBC (European Boxing Confederation).
ii.The Tournament had different categories including (Men 52 kg ,57 kg ,63 kg ,69 kg ,75 kg ,81 kg ,91 kg ,+91 kg) & Women (52 kg ,57 kg ,60 kg ,69 kg ,75 kg).
About International Boxing Association (AIBA):
Formation– 1946
Headquarters– Lausanne, Switzerland
President– Gafur Rakhimov

New Zealand spinner Todd Astle announces first-class retirement On January 28,2020 Todd Duncan Astle, 33 years old from New Zealand, Wellington, leg-spinner had announced his retirement from first-class cricket to focus on the limited-over cricket (one day cricket). Astle scored more than 4000 runs in his 119 first-class matches.
Key Points:
i.Known as ‘Canterbury stalwart’, Astle made his Test Debut in 2012, played five tests for nations team in which he claimed 7 wickets at 52.57 and scored 98 runs at 19.60 overs.
ii.Astle was the first-class wicket-taker of the Canterbury team, New Zealand clinching 303 runs of his 334 wickets.

For the 2nd straight year, India to host Barca Academy Cup – Asia Pacific 2020 in Gurgaon, Haryana
For the 2nd time, India to host Barca Academy Cup – Asia Pacific 2020, hosted by Barca Academy, scheduled to be held in Gurgaon, Haryana from January 30 -February 2, 2020, which will see the participation of more than 650 football players from 7 countries (India, Australia, Turkey, China, Singapore, Japan and Spain).
Key Points:
i.A total of 48 teams will play in 4 categories namely under 9(U-9), U-11, U-13 and U-15.
ii.It will be played in a 7-player format with a 30-minute game for children U-9, 40 minutes for children U-11and 13, and 50 minutes for children U-15.
iii.In 2019, Barca Academy’s Asia-Pacific (APAC) Soccer Cup held at The Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Gurugram, Haryana from January 24 to 27, 2019.
About Barca Academy:
Head– Carlos Palacin; It is a flagship FC Barcelona school.

Indian squash player Saurav Ghosal loses in Pittsburgh Open 2020 final held in US
Indian squash player Saurav Ghosal missed out on winning his first title in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour event 2019-20. He suffered a 7-11, 4–11, 9–11 defeat to Fares Dessouky of Egypt in the finals of the Men’s Pittsburgh Open 2020 held in Rivers Club, Pittsburgh,United States (US).
Key Points:
i.Earlier, he defeated Egypt’s Omar Mosaad Abouzid with 11-6, 16-18, 11-7, 12-10 scores in the semi-finals.
ii.Saurav became the 1st Indian squash player to reach the quarterfinals of the World Championship held in 2013. In 2014, he won the silver medal (individual singles) in the 17th Asian Games at Incheon, South Korea. He was the first Indian squash player to do so.
iii.He also achieved numerous records including a career-high world ranking of World No. 10, the first Indian to be ranked junior World No.1, the first to bag the junior National championship 3 years in a row and in December 2006, won India’s 1st medal in the Doha Asian Games 2006.

India won the T20 series during ‘2020 Sri Lanka tour of India’ held in Indore, Guwahati and Pune
The Indian Men’s cricket team played T20I (twenty twenty International) bilateral series against Srilanka during the 2020 Sri Lanka tour of IndiaIndia defeated Sri Lanka in final T20I to win three-match T20I series for 2-0. The three T20I matches were held in Guwahati(Assam), Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Pune(Maharashtra). The first match was in Guwahati but was abandoned due to rain. The highlights of the match are as follows:

  • Indian cricketer Virat Kohi surpassed India’s Rohit Sharma to become the highest run scorer in the T20I.
  • India’s Jasprit Bumrah became the highest wicket-taker in the T20 match against Srilanka. He has now 53 T20 wickets under his name from 45 T20I matches overall.
  • Virat Kohli made another achievement by becoming the quickest to reach 11,000 international runs as a captain.
  • India opener Kannur Lokesh Rahul retained 6th position in the first ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings of the season while Indian captain Virat Kohli moved up a place to 9th place….Click here to Read More

OBITUARY

Ex Bihar minister and RJD MLA Abdul Ghafoor passed away at 60
On January 28, 2020, Abdul Ghafoor, former Bihar minister & RJD party (Rashtriya Janata Dal) MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly), passed away at the age of 60 in  New Delhi due to liver ailment. He was born on 5th May 1959 in Saharsa district, Bihar.
Key Points:
i.Gafoor represented Mahishi constituency in Bihar assembly for 4 times (1995,2000,2010 and in 2015).
ii.He was the former Minister of Minority Welfare in Nitish Kumar Government of Bihar.
iii.Ghafoor also served as the chairman of Bihar State haj committee between 2003 & 2006.

Veteran south actress Jameela Malik passed away at 73On January 28,2020 Veteran actress Jameela Malik, passed away at the age of 73 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala due to age-related ailments.
Jameela Malik was the first Kerala woman who graduated from the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, Maharashtra. She was born in Kollam, Kerala.
Key Points:
i.She acted as a leading roles in Tamil ,Malayalam,Telugu movies & television (TV) serials.
ii.Her first movie was ‘Aadhyathe katha’ directed by KS Sethumadhavan.
iii.She was also noticed in films such as Ragging (1973) directed by NN Pisharody, Rajahamsam(1974), Lahari(1982), Pandavapuram (1986).

STATE NEWS

Flipkart signs MoU with GSHHDC to promote artisans and craftsmen
On January 28,2020, Flipkart Private Limited, an Indian e-commerce company, has entered into an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with the Gujarat State Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd (GSHHDC) for the promotion of local handicrafts by bringing on board thousands of artisans, weavers and craftsmen.
The agreement is a part of  Flipkart’s “Samarthinitiative & was signed in the presence of Gujarat chief minister (CM) Vijay Ramniklal Rupani at an event held in Rajkot, Gujarat.
Key Points:
i.The MoU will enable both the sides to work together to enhance business and trade inclusion.
ii.Under this agreement, Flipkart will provide training and incubation support to  eligible sellers under GSHHDC in the form of on-boarding, business insights, dedicated seller support and warehousing.
iii.It will also enable handloom and handicraft artisans living in remote areas of Gujarat to access Flipkart’s platform to expand their market outreach & they will also get better knowledge about developments in designs, colour patterns and selling techniques from the platform.
iv.In July 2019, Flipkart Group launched ‘Samarth’ to support weavers, artisans, and makers of handicrafts to its platform.
About Flipkart:
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Founded– October 2007
CEO– Kalyan Krishnamurthy,
About Gujarat State Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd (GSHHDC):
Formation– 1973
Headquarters– Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Managing Director (MD)- Mahesh Singh

Current Affairs Headlines: 29 January 2020 

  1. Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Vanilla’ to aid the cyclone-hit Madagascar
  2. 10 more wetlands from india declared as Ramsar sites
  3. PM Modi Addressed 3rd Global Potato Conclave held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat
  4. World’s largest meditation centre opened in Hyderabad, Telangana
  5. Government to release the report of 100 Smarts Cities in June 2020
  6. SC allows govt to bring African cheetah to suitable wildlife habitat in India
  7. MGNREGA scheme faces fund crunch as 96% funds been spent
  8. Country’s 1st and biggest ‘walk-through’ aviary inaugurated at Byculla Zoo in Maharashtra
  9. ICG commissioned high-speed interceptor boat C-448 in Mangaluru, Karnataka
  10. Overview of Cabinet Approval on Jan 29, 2020
  11. UK Govt launches £4 Million pound Innovation challenge fund in India
  12. India’s crude steel production rose by 1.8 % to 111.2 MT in 2019: WSA
  13. Britain unveils new 50 pence coin to mark its departure from EU
  14. NTPC to develop 300 MW solar power projects in West African country Togo
  15. Abhijit Banerjee conferred D Litt by alma mater Calcutta University
  16. Environmentalist Pavan Sukhdev and Prof. Gretchen C. Daily won the Tyler Prize 2020
  17. Noted Theatre artist Sanjna kapoor gets French honour ‘Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters’ in New Delhi
  18. Vakrangee appoints Ramesh joshi as its Non-Executive chairman as per Kotak committee recommendations
  19. Diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu appointed as India’s Ambassador to US
  20. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani appointed as new PM of Qatar
  21. England’s Alastair Cook and ex-West Indies team manager Ricky Skerritt appointed as the members of MCC’s World Cricket Committee
  22. Researchers at IIT-H develops essential-oil-based drug carrier to treat fungal diseases
  23. Dr Jitendra Singh launched ISRO’s Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0 Web portal
  24. New mission launched by NASA & ESA to take first pics of Sun’s poles
  25. 71st International Boxing tournament Strandja 2020 held in Sofia, Bulgaria ; India bags  3 medals
  26. New Zealand spinner Todd Astle announces first-class retirement
  27. For the 2nd straight year, India to host Barca Academy Cup – Asia Pacific 2020 in Gurgaon, Haryana
  28. Indian squash player Saurav Ghosal loses in Pittsburgh Open 2020 final held in US
  29. Highlights of 2020 Sri Lanka tour of India, T20 series in Indore, Guwahati and Pune
  30. Ex Bihar minister and RJD MLA Abdul Ghafoor passed away at 60
  31. Veteran south actress Jameela Malik passed away at 73
  32. Flipkart signs MoU with GSHHDC to promote artisans and craftsmen

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