Current Affairs: 12th-18th January 2020

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1) India and Sri Lanka have agreed to strengthen cooperation further to ensure maritime security in the Indian Ocean region and the sharing of intelligence inputs.

2) President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected the mercy petition of one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape case.

3) The festival of harvest, Lohri, is being celebrated today in North India, especially in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu, and Chandigarh. Lohri marks the end of the long nights of winter and welcomes the longer days of summer, as the SunSun begins its journey to the Northern Hemisphere. Lohri is celebrated with a bonfire. The festival is mostly associated with crop harvesting and happiness; It also encouraged a sense of community and unity. Several young married couples also pray for a child during Lohri celebrations, and those who get a child also celebrate it with great zeal.

4) India’s high power communication satellite GSAT-30 was successfully launched on-board Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana early today morning.

5) The government has said that no documents will be asked for or biometric will be taken for National Population Register (NPR).

6) India’s flagship global conference on geopolitics and geo-economics Raisina Dialogue began in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the inaugural session.

7) The Supreme Court on 14th January dismissed the curative petitions filed by two of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case.

8) Makar Sankranti festival is being celebrated in various parts of the country with religious fervor. As per Vedic Hindu philosophy, SunSun is considered to be the king of all the planets. And Makar Sankranti commemorates the expedition of the SunSun to the Northern Hemisphere. This festival also comes as Thanksgiving to Mother Nature for an abundance of crops, well being, and prosperity.

9) Prime Minister Narendra Modi began day two of his West Bengal visit by paying tributes to Swami Vivekananda on his 158th birth anniversary also celebrated a “National Youth Day” at the Belur Math.

10) Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India should be a world-class center of heritage tourism. PM Modi said we are celebrating the 200th Birth Anniversary of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in 2022 when India will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary of Independence. He said the country would also commemorate the 250th Birth Anniversary of great social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

11) China’s Wuhan city is in the grip of a new respiratory virus called Novel coronavirus that has killed two people in China and sickened at least 45 persons, including overseas cases with some new cases being detected in the city. The illness has been identified as a new strain of coronavirus, which is in the same family as the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

12) Myanmar and China signed 33 bilateral deals, including agreements, MoUs, exchange letters, and protocols on the concluding day of the two-day visit by the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Myanmar. A large number of these deals relate to the implementation of the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by China. The two countries signed a concession agreement and shareholders’ agreement for the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) deep seaport project. The port will link the landlocked Yunnan province of China directly to the Indian Ocean, allowing China to bypass the Strait of Malacca through which it imports a sizeable amount of oil and gas.

13) The historic impeachment trial of Donald Trump opened Thursday in the US Senate, as lawmakers took a solemn oath to be “impartial” in deciding whether to force the 45th US president from office.

14) The World Future Energy Summit will begin on Monday in Abu Dhabi, 33,500 participants from 170 countries, and 800 specialist exhibitors are expected to attend the four-day annual event. The theme for this year’s summit is “Rethinking Global Consumption, Production, and Investment.” World Future Energy Summit in the Middle East’s largest future energy and sustainability event.

15) The world economy can grow by 2.5 percent in 2020. Still, a flareup of trade tensions, financial turmoil, or an escalation of geopolitical tensions could derail a recovery, according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2020 released on Thursday.

16) FASTag norms for 65 toll plazas with high cash transactions have been relaxed to allow them to convert up to 25 percent of FASTag lane of Fee Plaza into hybrid lanes for 30 days. A FASTag uses radio frequency identification technology to enable direct toll payments from a moving vehicle. Now the drivers will not have to stop their vehicles at toll plazas to pay tax.

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