Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 09 January 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 09 January 2020


Centre issues revised guidelines for mutual legal assistance matters

  • The Centre has issued revised guidelines for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with other nations as part of the government's policy of zero tolerance for crime and in an endeavour to fast track the dispensation of justice.
  • India has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, MLAT with 42 countries for cooperation in criminal matters and the Home Ministry is the designated central authority for the country for it.
  • Under the MLAT, a country can request for obtaining evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions. The evidence includes witness statements or the service of documents among others.
  • The revised guidelines provide step-by-step guidance to the investigation agencies for drafting and processing letters rogatory or mutual legal assistance requests and service of summons, notices and other judicial documents.
  • Home Ministry said, by incorporating various legal and technological developments in the recent years, it aims to make the documentation in this regard more precise and focused as well as compliant with international requirements.
  • The guidelines have also taken into account the concerns raised by various courts for prompt and timely responses in service of documents on persons residing abroad. As an initiative, the revised guidelines have provision for service of documents on authorities of foreign country preferably within 10 days of receipt of request in respect of offences committed against women and children.
  • It said, over the decade, there have been substantial changes in international cooperation based on new legislations, regulations and conventions and amendment in procedural laws all over the world including India.
  • The Ministry said, these changes necessitated the need for comprehensive review of existing guidelines to keep them abreast the modern era requirements.

Centre assures country ready to deal with every situation amidst oil price rise

  • Petroleum Minister DharmendraPradhan has said that said India is preparing to deal with all kinds of situations amidst the rise in global oil prices due to heightened US-Iran tension.
  • Replying a media query, Mr Pradhan asserted that there is no crisis for India. He said Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has spoken to his counterparts in major oil supplying nations and conveyed India's concerns over the geopolitical situation since last week.
  • The Petroleum Minister said there are different dimensions and ramifications of the developing situation in the Middle East.
  • He said, India is a major consumer of oil and Government is keeping a close eye on the developments.


CCEA approves disinvestment of MMTC equity

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA has given in-principle approval for the sale of equity held by four Central Public Sector Enterprises and two-state PSUs in NeelachalIspat Nigam Limited-NINL.
  • It has approved strategic disinvestment of 49.78 per cent equity shareholding of Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation Limited and 10.10 per cent of National Mineral Development Corporation.
  • The CCEA gave approval for strategic disinvestment of 0.68 per cent of MECON and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited each. 12 per cent disinvestment in Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha Limited and 20.47 per cent in Odisha Mining Corporation in have also been approved.
  • NINL is a Joint Venture company, in which these six companies are shareholders.The proposed strategic disinvestment of NeelachalIspat Nigam Limited will unlock resources to be used to finance the social sector and developmental programmes of the Government benefiting the public.

Govt.approves fund to build Natural Gas Pipeline Grid covering 8 North Eastern states

  • The Government has approved the Viability Gap Funding, VGF of 5 thousand, 559 crore rupees to Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited to build Natural Gas Pipeline Grid covering 8 North Eastern states.
  • The total cost of the grid is 9 thousand 256 crore rupees and sanctioned VGF amount will cover 60 per cent cost of the project. The 1,656-km pipeline will connect Guwahati in Assam to major cities in the region such as Itanagar, Dimapur, Kohima, Imphal, Aizawl and Agartala.
  • Petroleum Minister DharmendraPradhan said, the project is critical towards implementing the government's Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for the North-East. He said, the Gas Pipeline Grid would be developed in all the eight states of North-Eastern region.
  • The Capital Grant will provide natural gas supplies to various types of consumers and would help in substituting the liquid fuels.
  • The government said that the pipeline grid would ensure reliability and uninterrupted natural gas supplies to the consumers which otherwise gets severely affected due to various reasons in this part of the country.

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India-Mongolia space cooperation agreement approved

  • The Cabinet today gave its approval for an Agreement between India and Mongolia on Cooperation in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful and Civilian Purposes.
  • The agreement was signed in New Delhi on 20th September last year during the visit of the President of Mongolia to India.
  • The Cabinet also gave its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department for International Development Government of the United Kingdom for Enabling Energy Self-Sufficiency for Indian Railways.
  • The Cabinet was apprised of the Agreement on cooperation in polar science between Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India and Ministry of Education and Research, Sweden.TheMoU was signed on 2nd of last month during the visit of King and Queen of Sweden to India.
  • The Cabinet gave its approval for the ratification of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France. The Agreement was signed in March 2018 during the State visit of the French President to India.

Bangladesh-Myanmar to cooperate against terrorism and human trafficking

  • Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to take action against terrorism, human trafficking and illegal drugs taking place on the borders between the two countries.
  • Briefing media in Dhaka today after the meeting between the BGB and Myanmar Police Force (MPF), the Director General of Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) Major General Md.
  • Shafeenul Islam said that both the countries agreed to share real-time information on terrorist and secessionist activities, illicit drug trade, human trafficking and illegal border crossing.
  • The meeting also decided to have frequent interaction between the two countries to sustain cooperation in these fields.
  • Bangladesh and Myanmar also agreed to cooperate with each other in fighting transnational crimes and to notify if shooting takes place in the border areas. In case of people unknowingly crossing the border into each other’s territory, both the countries agreed to return the citizens as per existing rules and regulations.


LIGO detects collision of neutron stars

  • The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) detected gravitational waves due to collision of two neutron stars. This is the second time the gravitational waves are being detected.
  • The mass of the neutron stars detected is expected to be 3.3 times and 3.7 times as that of the sun. The scientists believe that the neutron stars were formed separately and drifted together to form a star pair.
  • The neutron stars were at a distance of 520 million light years from the earth. The combined mass is the heaviest of the stars known so far.
  • Currently LIGO operates three gravitational wave detectors at Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford. They are located 3,000 km apart in the shape of ‘L’.
  • The gravitational waves are caused by exploding stars, black holes, merging neutron stars. LIGO helps to detect these waves and analyze the information that they carry.
  • As the waves interact very weakly with matter, they help to learn about the universe and its origin.


Tennis legends join hands for Australian bushfire charity match

  • Tennis greats Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal will headline an exhibition match ahead of the Australian Open. The exhibition match at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena will raise money for bushfire relief.
  • Tennis Australia announced that the match is slated for January 15, the week before the first Grand Slam of the year.
  • Vast wildfires continue to burn across eastern Australia. 25 people have been killed since the start of the disaster in September and destroyed more than 1,800 homes.
  • Milder conditions are providing a reprieve for firefighters, although more dangerous weather is forecast for later in the week.
  • There have been fears that smoke haze could affect the Australian Open, but Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said this was unlikely.
  • Meanwhile, five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova was handed an Australian Open wildcard as she attempts to resurrect her career after an injury-plagued 2019.

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