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Important Current Affairs 2nd January 2020

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

36th international geological congress, 2-8 march, 2020

• The 36th International Geological Congress will be held in New Delhi from March 2-8, 2020.

• India is the only Asian country to host the Congress twice. The 22nd session of IGC was held in New Delhi in 1964

• The International Geological Congress, described as the “Olympics of Geosciences,” is aimed at the development of Earth Sciences.

• The theme of the 36th IGC is Geosciences: The Basic Science for a Sustainable Future.

• The event will be jointly funded by the Ministry of Mines and the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India and supported by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) along with the science academies of Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

• The first session of  IGC took place in France in 1878.

Palau is first country to ban 'reef toxic' sun cream

• In a bid to safeguard and protect coral reef and other sea life from declining, the Pacific nation of Palau has announced to ban sun cream containing chemicals linked to coral bleaching, thus becoming the first country in the world to do so.

• From January 01, 2020, sunscreen that includes ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate (chemicals that absorb ultraviolet A rays) would no longer be allowed to be applied or sold in the country to safeguard the island nation’s environment from tourists.

• Earlier, in 2018, Hawaii also announced similar legislation to impose ban against sunscreen that contained the toxic chemicals. The law in Hawaii will come into effect from January 1, 2021.

• As per the International Coral Reef Foundation, the banned chemicals are ‘known environmental pollutants’ which are incredibly toxic to juvenile stages of many wildlife species.

NATIONAL NEWS

EC launches online system to let new parties track status of registration applications

• The salient features of the Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System is that applicants, applying for the party registration from January 1, will be able to track the progress with the poll panel on a real-time basis of his/her application and will get the status update through SMS and e-mail.

• The new norms have come into force from Wednesday, a statement by the poll panel said.

• The registration of political parties is governed by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

• An association seeking registration has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days from the date of its formation.

Uttar Pradesh: SRTC launches women's special helpline Damini

• The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) has launched a dedicated women helpline called ‘Damini’ for the safety of women.

• The unique number “81142-77777” is a calling as well as a WhatsApp service, and is an extension of the ‘Nirbhaya Yojana’ that aims to ensure safety of women.

• The service will be functional from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

• After 6 p.m., women passengers can lodge their complaints on the general helpline number, 1800-180-2877.

• The service will be exclusively handled by women officers at the UPSRTC headquarters and regional offices.

• The helpline number will be made functional 24-hours a day after three months, depending on the response.

Delhi: Pragati Maidan metro station renamed as Supreme Court Metro Station

• The Delhi government’s naming committee has on January 1, 2020, decided to rename Pragati Maidan metro station as Supreme Court metro station.

• The entire renaming process including changing of audio in metro train announcements will take around a month to be completed.

• The Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has announced that the committee has also decided to rename Mukarba Chowk and its flyover as Captain Vikram Batra Chowk, Mehrauli Badarpur Road as Acharya Sri Mahapragya Marg and the Lajpat Nagar flyover as Shri Jhulelal Setu among others.

28th World Book Fair to focus on Gandhi as writer

• The 28th edition of the annual New Delhi World Book Fair will begin at the Pragati Maidan on January 4, 2020.

• The nine-day fair will conclude on January 12.

• The fair is being organised by National Book Trust (NBT) in association with ITPO.

• The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank will inaugurate the event.

• The 2020 edition of the fair will focus on how Mahatma Gandhi influenced generations of writers through his writings.

• Among everything, the fair will witness an exclusive exhibition of 500 books on and by Gandhi in different languages.

• The number of countries at the book fair 2020 has come down from 20 to 15.

• Also, the fair will not be hosting any ‘guest country’ this year, due to the ongoing construction and the subsequent lack of space in Pragati Maidan.

Govt creates new Department of Military Affairs, to be headed by Gen Rawat

• On December 30, 2019, the government has created a new ‘Department of Military affairs (DMA)’ in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to be headed by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat.

• The new department works for the unity of the three forces Army, Navy and Air Force and will also monitor the services except for capital acquisitions according to prevalent rules and procedures.

• The DMA is the 5th department in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and was created after a change in Government of India (Allocation of Business), Rules 1961.

• The other existing 4 departments under MoD are the Department of Defence, the Department of Defence Production, the Department of Defence Research and Development and the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.

Chief of Army Staff- Manoj Mukund Naravane.

Chief of the Naval Staff- Admiral Karambir Singh.

Chief of the Air Staff – Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria.

BANKING AND ECONOMICS

Launch of Mobile Aided Note Identifier (MANI) by RBI to aid visually impaired persons.

• Reserve Bank of India has launched a mobile application named “Mobile Aided Note Identifier (MANI)”  for aiding visually impaired persons to identify the denomination of Indian Banknotes.

• The app MANI contains the following features:

• Capable of identifying the denominations of Mahatma Gandhi Series and Mahatma Gandhi (New) series banknote by checking front or reverse side/part of the note including half folded notes at various holding angles and broad range of light conditions (normal light/day light/low light/ etc.).

• Ability to identify the denomination through audio notification in Hindi/English and non-sonic mode such as vibration (suitable for those with vision and hearing impairment).

• After installation, the mobile application does not require internet and works in offline mode.

• Ability to navigate the mobile application via voice controls for accessing the application features wherever the underlying device & operating system combination supports voice enabled controls.

• The application is free and can be downloaded from the Android Play Store and iOS App Store without any charges/payment.

• This mobile application does not authenticate a note as being either genuine or counterfeit.

Small savings schemes: Govt keeps interest rates unchanged for Jan-Mar quarter

• The government has kept the interest rates on small savings schemes unchanged for the fourth quarter of FY 2019-20 (January-March).

• The interest rates on small savings schemes are reviewed every quarter by the government.

• The formula to arrive at the interest rates of the small savings scheme was given by the Shyamala Gopinath Committee.

SPORTS

Sunita Lakra announces retirement from international hockey

• On January 2, 2020, Indian women’s hockey team defender Sunita Lakra aged 28, who was part of the 2018 Asian Games silver-winning side, announced her international retirement, citing a knee injury.

• However, she will continue to represent domestic hockey and NALCO (National Aluminium Company Limited), Odisha.

• Sunita has so far played 139 matches for India that also included the 2014 Asian Games bronze medal.

Cycling and Lawn bowls to be included in 3rd Khelo India Games

• Chief Executive Officer of “Khelo India Games” has announced that “Lawn bowls” and “cycling” will be included in the 3rd edition of Khelo India Games.

• The two games will be included in the event for the first time.

• The 3rd edition of the tournament will be held in Guwahati, Assam in January 2020.

• Athletes from all over the country will be coming to Guwahati for the Khelo India Youth Games.

• Chief Executive Officer of “Khelo India Games”: Avinash Joshi.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

107th Indian Science Congress will begin in Bengaluru from 03 January 2020

• The 107th edition of the Indian Science Congress is scheduled to be held at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru from January 3 to 7, 2020.

• It is the ninth time that Bengaluru is hosting the annual convention.

• The vent will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

• The theme of the congress is ‘Science and Technology: Rural Development’

• For the first time, a Farmer’s Science Congress will also be part of the event, providing a platform for innovative farmers.

ISRO to set up second launch port in Thoothukodi district of Tamil Nadu for small satellite launch vehicles

• The ISRO Chairman announced that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will establish a 2nd launch port in Thoothukodi district in Tamil Nadu.

• This launch port will be used exclusively to launch small satellite launch vehicles. The launch port will be established in 2300 acres.

• He announced that the process of Astronaut selection is over for India’s 1st manned mission to outer space i.e. “Gaganyaan” to be launched by 2022.

• The ISRO Chairman also announced that the Government has approved the Chandrayaan–3 mission to the moon, comprising of a lander and a rover.

• Chairman of ISRO: K.Sivan; Headquarters: Bengaluru; Established: 1969.

OBITUARY

Senior NCP leader DP Tripathi dies at 67 after prolonged illness

• On January 2, 2020, General Secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and former Member of Parliament (MP) Devi Prasad Tripathi passed away after battling with cancer in New Delhi.

• He was the former MP of Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra.

• He was one of the founders of NCP along with Sharad Pawar and P.A. Sangma.

• He was also the Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly journal Think India.

• He played an important role in the establishment of democracy in Nepal.

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