Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 January 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 January 2020


VP calls for preservation and promotion of classical languages

  • Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for preservation and promotion of classical languages saying that they provide the window to our past and the civilizational values of ancient India.

  • Mr Venkaiah Naidu, who arrived at Venkatachalam in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh by a Special train on a two-day visit to Sri PottiShriramulu, interacted with the scholars, writers and experts in Telugu Language today.

  • The Vice President said that our classical languages represent the knowledge and wisdom of our ancient thinkers, scientists, poets, sages, doctors, philosophers and rulers.

  • He stressed the need to preserve and promote classical languages. Mr Naidu’s discussions with scholars centeredaround the promotion of classical Telugu language and the development of the Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Telugu (CESCT).

  • While referring to some reports, Mr Naidu expressed concern over the fact that more than 40 languages or dialects in India are considered to be endangered and are believed to be heading towards extinction as only a few thousand people speak them.

  • Following a demand to shift the Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Telugu from Mysuru, Mr Naiudu had suggested shifting the CESCT to the then unified AP, some years ago.

Supreme court rejects Nirbhaya case convicts claim on juvenility

  • The Supreme Court today rejected the plea of a death row convict in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case challenging the Delhi High Court order. The High Court had dismissed Pawan Kumar Gupta's claim of being a juvenile at the time of the commission of the offence.

  • A bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bushan, and A S Bopanna dismissed the plea of the death row convict, Pawan Kumar Gupta, and upheld the Delhi High Court verdict.

  • The apex court said, there was no ground to interfere with the high court order that rejected Pawan's plea and his claim was rightly rejected by the trial court as also the high court.

  • The advocate appearing for Pawan said that as per his school-leaving certificate he was a minor at the time of the offence and none of the courts, including trial court and high court, ever considered his documents.

  • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi police, said the convict was 19 years old at the time of offence and there is a certified copy of his birth certificate as well as a school-leaving certificate which was taken on record by each and every judicial forum.


UNCTAD report says India amongst top 10 FDI recipients

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Monday said thatIndia was among the top 10 recipients of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2019, attracting $49 billion in inflows, a 16% increase from the previous year, driving the FDI growth in South Asia. The majority went into services industries, including information technology.

  • UNCTAD, in its Global Investment Trend Monitor report said that the global foreign direct investment remained flat in 2019 at $1.39 trillion, a 1% decline from a revised $1.41 trillion in 2018.

  • As per the multilateral agency, FDI flows to developed countries remained at a historically low level, decreasing by a further 6% per cent to an estimated $643 billion.

  • FDI to the European Union fell 15% to $305 billion while flows to the United States-the largest recipient of FDI- remained stable at $251 billion.

  • China, the second largest recipient, saw zero-growth in FDI inflows. Its FDI inflows in 2018 were $139 billion and $140 billion in 2019. The FDI in the UK was down 6% as Brexit unfolded.

  • Going ahead, UNCTAD expects FDI flows to rise moderately in 2020, as current projections show the global economy to improve somewhat from its weakest performance since the global financial crisis in 2009.

  • It said that GDP growth, gross fixed capital formation and trade are projected to rise, both at the global level and, especially, in several large emerging markets.

  • Such an improvement in macroeconomic conditions could prompt MNEs to resume investments in productive assets, also their easy access to cheap money, the fact that corporate profits are expected to remain solid in 2020, and hopes for waning trade tensions between the United States and China, it said.

WEF annual council meeting held at Davos

  • The 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, a congregation of rich and powerful from across the world, opens in Davos, Switzerland today. Commerce and Industry Minister PiyushGoyal will lead the Indian delegation to the WEF.

  • Besides, over 100 CEOs, political leaders including Union Ministers and Chief Ministers will take part in the 50th edition of the annual event. WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said in his welcome message last night that he is proud to have created a community of some great people, including young leaders, through this platform.

  • The welcome message was followed by the annual crystal awards and this year's recipients included celebrity film star DeepikaPadukone. The awards are given to cultural leaders, who are improving the state of the world through their contributions to inclusive and sustainable change.

  • Receiving the award, Padukone said that people must understand depression and anxiety are like any other illness and can be treated and her own experience has encouraged her to work for this cause.

  • This year's programme focuses on achieving maximum impact on the Forum's platform for public-private cooperation across six core areas of activity: ecology, economy, society, industry, technology, and geopolitics.

  • Among the initiatives to be launched at the annual meeting is one that aims to plant one trillion trees over the next decade and to equip one billion people with the necessary skills in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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Myanmar commission finds war crimes and human rights violation by armed forces at Rakhine

  • The Myanmar government appointed Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) has observed that the security operations conducted between Aug. 25 and Sept. 5, 2017, in the Rakhine state did involve war crimes, serious human rights violations and violations of domestic laws. However, it did not find any evidence of ‘genocidal intent’ in the operations.

  • In a press statement issued today the ICOE said that it found no evidence to conclude that the armed forces of Myanmar conducted the operations in the Rakhine state against any national, ethnic, racial or religious group to commit genocide.

  • The 461 page report submitted by the ICOE to the Myanmar President U Win Myint on Monday contradicts the report of the UN investigators which concluded that the Myanmar armed forces indulged in acts of genocide in the operations conducted against Rohingyas.

  • The ICOE report says that the clearance operations by the Myanmar’s Defence Services and Police Force were provoked by the initial attacks by the ArakanRohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on police outposts in the area on August 25, 2017.

  • Myanmar government set up the ICOE in 2018 to investigate allegations of human rights violations and related issues following the terrorist attacks by ARSA in Rakhine State.

India-Nepal to inaugurate integrated check post at border

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi and his Nepali counterpart K P Sharma Oli will inaugurate the Integrated Check Post (ICP) Biratnagar today. The two Prime Ministers will jointly inaugurate the project through video conferencing at 11 A.M.

  • India and Nepal share over 1,850 kilometre- long border which is characterized by a unique and long tradition of free movement of people. Jogbani-Biratnagar international trade point is one of the important trade points between the two countries.

  • ICP Biratnagar has been built on 260 acres of land at a cost of around 140 crore rupees. It has the facilities for immigration clearance of foreign passengers, export and import cargo handling.

  • It is equipped with all modern facilities and is designed to handle around 500 trucks per day. Adequate facilities for quarantine, amenities for drivers, passengers and security personnel have also been created, along with a waste water treatment plant.

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi and Nepal's Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli will also witness the progress of Government of India supported post-earthquake reconstruction housing project.

  • India is providing financial assistance for reconstruction of 50,000 houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts of Nepal. Around 91 per cent houses have been reconstructed so far. India has committed one billion US dollars for post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal.


Researchers develop AI aided method for automatic reading of legal judgements

  • Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have evolved an artificial intelligence-aided method to automate reading of legal judgements. A research team at the institute's Department of Computer Science and Engineering has developed two deep neural models to understand the rhetorical roles of sentences in a legal case judgement.

  • This could be unique in India where the country uses a Common Law system that prioritises the doctrine of legal precedence over statutory law and where legal documents are often written in an unstructured way, a member of the team said.

  • This artificial intelligence-powered method would enable automated understanding of the roles of sentences in a legal case judgement, which is important as it can help in several downstream tasks such as summarisation of legal judgements, legal search, case law analysis, and other functions.

  • In countries such as USA, Britain, Japan, Singapore and Australia, artificial intelligence is being used to perform legal research, review documents during litigation and conduct due diligence, analyse contracts to determine whether they meet pre-determined criteria and to even predict case outcomes, it added.


India clinches ODI series against Australia

  • India beat Australia by 7 wickets inthe third and final ODI cricket in Bengaluru last night and clinched the series2-1. Opting to bat first, Australia posted a competitive total of 286 for ninein the stipulated 50 overs.

  • In reply, India scored 289 for 3 in 47.3 overs. Skipper ViratKohli scored 89.He was adjudged the Man of the series. Rohit Sharma slammed his 29th One-DayInternational century.

  • He alsobecame the third-fastest batsman to score 9,000 runs in the 50-over format ashe went past the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and SouravGanguly to achieve thefeat.

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