Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 MAY 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 MAY 2019


::NATIONAL::

Vice President commemorates birth anniversary of Vedanta Desikan

  •  The Vice President, Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu released a postage stamp to commemorate the 750th birth anniversary of Sri Vedanta Desikan in New Delhi today. He said that our textbooks must throw light on the lives of great saints and spiritual icons such as Sri Vedanta Desikan so that our children internalize and practice the lofty ideals of humanism, peace and compassion propagated by them.
  •  The Vice President termed Sri Vedanta Desikan’s scholarship as truly outstanding and said that he had authored brilliant poems, prose, drama, epics, commentaries, scientific texts and philosophical treatises in Sanskrit, Tamil, Prakrit and Manipravalam.
  •  Shri Naidu emphasized that Vedanta Desikan was much more than a spiritual teacher and said that he was a multi-faceted personality-- a scientist, a logician, a mathematician, a literary genius, a linguist, a military strategist and much more.
  •  Referring to Sri Vedanta Desikan’s humility and non-attachment to worldly honors and his affinity to a life of simplicity and service, the Vice President said Sri Desikan considered the grace of the Lord he worshipped and served as his greatest treasure.
  •  The Vice President expressed hope that organizations like Sri Vedanta Desikan Manipaduka Indraprastha Trust would propagate Sri Vedant Desikan’s timeless message to the younger generation. ‘It is only through such understanding that the true greatness of our illustrious land can be fully appreciated’, he said.
  •  The Vice President also stressed that massive public awareness and education campaigns must be undertaken to bring to the fore luminaries such as Sri Vedant Desikan who have shaped our Bharat into a “Jnana Bhoomi”.

External affairs ministry claims pulwama attack effected designation of Azhar Masood in UN list

  •  India on Thursday reiterated that it would not negotiate with any country on terrorism and national security, saying the listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist was the result of a sustained process started a decade ago during the UPA government.
  •  “Our objective has been all along the naming of Azhar. The process started in 2009, in 2016 and 2017 it was continued. Designation was not on the basis of a single incident, but [was] on the basis of evidence we have shared linking Azhar to several acts of terrorism,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry. He said India would maintain the international campaign against cross-border terrorists.
  •  However, the May 1 announcement from the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council did not refer to the terror attack in its statement giving rise to speculation on whether the UN appreciated India’s immediate concerns about the role played by the JeM in cross-border acts of terrorism from Pakistan.
  •  In compliance with the UN listing, Pakistan issued a Statutory Regulatory Order on Wednesday ordering freezing of financial assets belonging to Azhar. It also ordered travel ban and arms embargo on him.
  •  India said Pakistan would be held responsible by the international community on the follow up actions it is expected to take after the U.N. listing.

::ECONOMY::

Pepsico withdraws case against farmers based on government assurance

  •  In a victory for Gujarat potato farmers dragged to court by PepsiCo for alleged rights infringement, the food and beverages giant says it has agreed to withdraw the cases.
  •  “After discussions with the Government, the Company has agreed to withdraw cases against farmers. We are relying on the said discussions to find a long term and an amicable resolution of all issues around seed protection,” said a PepsiCo spokesperson on Thursday.
  •  This decision applies to the nine farmers PepsiCo has sued over the last two years for allegedly growing its registered potato variety which is used for Lays chips.
  •  Anand Yagnik, the lawyer representing four farmers from Sabarkantha district who were sued for ₹1.05 crore each, said “an unconditional withdrawal of litigation would be a great victory for the downtrodden and small farmers against a major corporate power”, but noted that the company is yet to communicate its decision to the court or to the farmers and their lawyer.
  •  “It is not stated when it will implement its decision,” he said. “It is important that no wrong precedent is set, given that this is a test case which could affect other farmers across the country.”
  •  The PepsiCo decision follows criticism from political parties and farmers rights groups, as well as boycott calls on global social media.

NCLAT allows IL & FS default accounts to be declared as NPA’s

  •  The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Thursday allowed the banks to declare as non-performing assets (NPAs) the accounts of IL&FS and its group companies that have defaulted on payments.
  •  A bench headed by Chairman Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya lifted the embargo on the banks to declare the accounts of the debt-ridden IL&FS and its 300 group entities, which are unable to pay their debt.
  •  However, the appellate tribunal has also clarified that although the banks would declare the IL&FS accounts as NPAs, they cannot initiate recovery process and debit money.
  •  The bench has observed that lenders must not withdraw support until a resolution is found for the IL&FS and its group companies.
  •  Presently, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) Group companies, with a collective debt of over Rs. 90,000 crore, are going through a resolution process. The NCLAT had, in February, prohibited banks from recognising any IL&FS group accounts as non-performing assets without first seeking approval from the tribunal.
  •  The RBI had moved the NCLAT to modify the order allowing the banks to declare the defaulting accounts of IL&FS as NPAs, as per banking regulations.
  •  It contended that banks had an obligation to mark bad loans as NPA in cases of non-payment, after the default of 90 days.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

International Press Institute claims global journalism under severe pressure

  •  Governments across the world are increasingly clamping down on press freedom by enacting new laws, according to a global network of journalists. Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) said in its latest report that as many as 55 journalists have been killed since May last year.
  •  IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2019, said Press freedom globally is under intense and growing pressure, as illiberal-minded governments seek to shut down critical voices and, in many cases, deliberately erode the credibility of independent media.
  •  While on the one hand governments are attempting to curtail press freedom, on the other journalists around the world are being killed with impunity, the IPI added.

Venezuela to get help of armed corps to forbid coup

  •  Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro today called on the armed forces to oppose any coup plotter after a failed military uprising by forces supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido.
  •  Maduro's call comes after an uprising on Tuesday by a group of military personnel under the leadership of Guaido. But the military leadership ratified their support for the Maduro Government and 25 rebel soldiers sought asylum at the Brazilian Embassy.
  •  Tensions in Venezuela have soared since Guaido, who heads the National Assembly legislature, invoked the constitution to declare himself acting President on January 23, claiming Maduro's re-election last year was illegitimate. Juan Guaido has been recognized by more than 50 countries as Venezuela's interim President.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

ISRO to land rover in Moon’s south pole during Chandrayaan 2

  •  India’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, will be historic for the scientific community as the country’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), attempts to land a rover on the lunar South Pole, a region on the moon to which no one has gone till now, ISRO Chairman K.Sivan said.
  •  On Wednesday, ISRO said it had fixed a launch window between July 5 and July 16 to launch the moon mission on board a GSLV-MkIII, with an aim to land on the moon around September 6. If ISRO manages to successfully execute this, India will be the first country to land a rover on the moon’s South Pole.
  •  ISRO Chairman K. Sivan, said this was a region where nobody had gone before. “All the [ISRO] missions, whatever we have had till now [to the moon], have all landed near the moon’s equator. This is a place where nobody has gone,” he said.
  •  After missing multiple launch deadlines, Mr. Sivan said the new launch window was almost final and that ISRO would launch the mission in July.
  •  “When nobody has gone near that area, some new science might be there. Some new information, new science, we may get access to,” he said. ISRO will reveal further details of its plans and goals for the Chandrayaan-2 mission in June, he said.
  •  The South Pole of the moon has generated a lot of interest in the recent past, with countries aiming to reach the region in what could spark another race to the moon.
  •  China is reportedly aiming to construct a moon research station on the lunar south pole, while the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working to send astronauts there by 2024.

::SPORTS::

Bajrang punia wins Ali Aliyev wrestling tournament

  •  World number one Bajrang Punia won the gold medal as he defeated Viktor Rassadin in the finals of men's 65kg freestyle in the Ali Aliyev wrestling tournament in Kaspiisk, Russia on Thursday.
  •  Bajrang got the better of the local favourite 13-8 in his final bout after being down 0-5 at one stage.
  •  The 25-year-old Indian grappler had won a gold medal last week at the Asian Championships in Xi'an, China.

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