Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 APRIL 2019
CJI cautions about independence of judiciary
- Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi today said that reputation is
the only thing which a judge has.
- Justice Gogoi was speaking during a specially convened hearing in
the Supreme Court where he, along with Justices Arun Mishra and SanjivKhanna,
heard allegations of sexual harassment against him by a woman as reported by
some on line portals.
- He said if a judge's reputation is attacked on baseless
allegations of sexual harassment, no sane person will come forward to take
- Describing the allegations of sexual harassment against him as
unbelievable, Justice Gogoi said that a larger conspiracy was behind it and
he would not stoop too low even to deny these allegations.
- The CJI said this issue has cropped up when a bench headed by him
is scheduled to hear "many, many sensitive cases" next week and this was
also the month of LokSabha elections.
- Though the CJI was heading the bench, he left it to Justice Mishra
to take a call on passing a judicial order.
- Dictating the order, Justice Mishra said, having considered the
matter, the bench refrain from passing any judicial order at this moment,
leaving it to the wisdom of the media to show restraint, act responsibly as
is expected from them.
PM assures commitment to Sashaktha Bharat
- Prime Minister NarendraModi has said that BJP is committed for not
only Samrudhdh Bharat but also Sashakta Bharat. He severely criticized
Congress party for its misrule and compromising national security.
- Addressing the election rally at Patan in North Gujarat, Mr.Modi
said that our Armed forces did not get a single modern tank since 1985,
while we have now advance production facilities in the country including in
Gujarat. Referring the successful test of anti-satellite missile, he said
India is now among superpowers of the world.
- Mr Modi said, India has become the sixth largest economy and his
government is targeting to make it top three nations in the world. Prime
Minister said, his government is completely committed to the welfare of
poor, backwards and farmers. Our correspondent reports that leaders of main
political parties are engaged in hectic poll campaign in the state before
curtain down this evening.
- Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister NarendraModi and party
president Amit Shah led the last leg of party’s poll campaign in the state
before the end of public campaign.
- Prime Minister Modi addressed the election rally at Patan in North
Gujarat, while party’s Gandhinagar candidate Amit Shah is holding a road
show in Sanand and organizing group meetings in his constituency.
- At the other end, Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is
campaigning in Saurashtra, while party’s candidates Dr.TusharChaudhari,
BharatsinhSolanki and C.J.Chavda have organized road show and bike rallies
in their constituencies.
Ban on social media platforms would affect FDI :Telcom companies
- Any ‘arbitrary’ ban on social media platforms and intermediaries
could impede foreign direct investment (FDI) and affect expansion of the
Digital India initiative, an industry body for Internet and mobile device
companies said on Saturday.
- Without naming Chinese video sharing app TikTok, the Internet and
Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said its statement was in response to
the “recent ban by the MeiTY on the order of a High Court [on] a social
- The Madras High Court on April 3, 2019, had directed the Centre to
ban TikTok, saying it was evident from media reports that pornography and
inappropriate content were made available through such mobile applications.
- Soon after, tech giants Google and Apple removed TikTok from their
app stores in India to stop further downloads of the application. Owned by
Chinese firm Bytedance, TikTok is a short-video app that has over 120
million users in India and is popular among youngsters.
- The IAMAI said it would be a major roadblock to the growth of
Digital India and impede FDI in digital if intermediaries were to be banned
quite ‘arbitrarily’ by the courts in the country.
- “The association was of the view that such a ban dilutes, nay,
negates the safe harbour provisions currently contained in the IT Act and
its rules and makes it impossible for them to operate in the country.
- “Especially affected would be the so-called social media platforms
which allow citizens to express themselves,” it added.
RIL denies involvement in cash payment to Venezuelan Oil companies
- Reliance Industries (RIL) denied reports that the company was
involved in an arrangement that led to cash payment for oil supplies to
Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA via third parties.
- Terming the reports as ‘false’ and ‘reckless,’ RIL said in a
statement, “Reliance has purchased Venezuelan crude oil from companies such
as Rosneft long before the imposition of U.S. sanctions, as they do get
title to Venezuelan oil in return for reduction in their prior debt.
- “Since sanctions were imposed, Reliance has made such purchases
with the full knowledge and approval of the U.S. Department of State (USDOS),
and Reliance has informed USDOS of specific volumes and transactions. Such
transactions do not lead to any consequent payment to PDVSA and do not
violate U.S. sanctions or policies.”
- Clarifying on the cash payments, RIL said, “Reliance’s price
agreement with such sellers is at market [rates] and payments by Reliance
for such supplies are settled in cash or by product supply bilaterally
between Reliance and such sellers. It is false to suggest that Reliance
would be settling such shipments via Rosneft to PDVSA. In these
transactions, PDVSA is only the original physical supplier, as the crude oil
originates in its export facilities.”
Serial blasts in Srilanka kills over 200 people
- In Sri Lanka, at least 207 people were killed and more than 400
injured in a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and five-star hotels
during Easter services today. Three Indian nationals, Lakshmi, Narayan
Chandrashekhar and Ramesh, are among the twenty-seven foreigners killed in
the attacks. Two other Indians, Subramaniam and Jairam, are among the
- Sri Lankan police has arrested seven suspects for their
involvement in the blasts. The police said initial investigations show some
of the attacks could have been carried by suicide bombers. Detailed
investigations are on.
- State Defence Minister RuwanWijewardena described the blasts as a
terrorist attack by religious extremists, but added that no one has claimed
responsibility for the blasts.
- Following the explosions, curfew has been imposed in the country.
A police spokesman said the curfew will remain effective till further
notice. The government has also imposed a ban on social media platforms like
WhatsApp and Facebook to avoid rumours.
- Six bomb blasts targeted three five-star hotels in Colombo and
three churches across the country. The explosions hit St. Anthony's Church
in Colombo and other two churches in Negombo and Batticaloa. Another
explosion was reported in the suburb of Colombo.
- The attacks happened around 9 AM when the churches were organizing
Easter mass while services were organized at the hotels. Prime Minister
RanilWickremsinghe held an emergency meeting to review the situation and
requested general public to remain calm and united. This is the biggest such
attack in Sri Lanka since the war against LTTE ended in 2009.
India to set forward bilateral consultations with China
- Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale will arrive in Beijing on Sunday
for “bilateral consultations”, amid signs that China may review its position
on lifting its “technical hold” on listing Jaish-e-Mohammad founder
MasoodAzhar as an international terrorist.
- Mr.Gokhale is arriving ahead of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) — a
mega event hosted by China that begins on April 25, in which 37 heads of
state or government are participating.
- On Friday, Mr. Wang said at a briefing on the BRF that the two
countries were preparing for a second edition of a leadership summit as a
follow-up to last year’s informal summit at Wuhan.
- India has been pressing China to designate Azhar as a global
terrorist after his outfit claimed responsibility for the February 14
Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
- On March 13, China placed a “technical hold” on designating Azhar
in the 1267 committee of the United Nations Security Council, despite
stating that it was engaged in “mediation efforts” to ease tensions between
India and Pakistan that spiked on February 27 following the Indian
cross-border air strike on Balakot in Pakistan.
- Since April 1, China has been saying that a consensus was emerging
within the 1267 committee on designating Azhar, after rejecting a parallel
initiative by the United States, backed by Britain and France, to seek a ban
on him through a separate resolution in the Security Council plenary.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Study claims indoor pollution affecting air quality standards
- India can achieve its air quality goals if it completely
eliminates emissions from household sources. A recent study has pointed out
that the use of firewood, kerosene and coal in the households contributed to
about 40% of the PM 2.5 pollution in the Gangetic basin districts. This
number varied across the country but household emissions remained one of the
major culprits behind air pollution.
- The analysis was carried out by researchers from the Indian
Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi in collaboration with University of
California in Berkeley, Urban Emissions, Delhi and the University of
- The results showed that by eliminating household emissions the
average outdoor air pollution levels could be reduced and brought within the
national ambient air quality standards. The paper published in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science also notes that “if all
households transitioned to clean fuels, about 13% of premature mortality in
India could be averted.” At the national scale, mitigating household
emissions is also expected to bring large health benefits.
- Using satellite data and chemical transport model simulations, the
researchers pointed out that complete mitigation would bring down the
country's average annual PM 2.5 air pollution to 38 microgram/cubic metre.
Surprisingly, this is below India's national ambient air quality standard of
40 microgram/cubic metre and slightly above the World Health Organization
(interim target 1) standards of 35 microgram/cubic metre.
Services clinch Santosh trophy cup
- In Football, the Services lifted the Santosh Trophy, beating
Punjab 1-nil in the final at Ludhiana today. In the first half, both the
teams were goal-less. In the second half, Services scored the lone goal and
held on till the final whistle.
- In the semi-finals earlier, eight-time champions Punjab had
defeated five-time winners Goa 2-1 to enter their 15th final. Services beat
Karnataka 4-3 in the semis via a penalty shootout to book a place in the
title clash for the 11th time.
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