Current Affairs a for IAS Exams - 21 APRIL 2019

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 up judgeship.
  •  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 media platform.”
  •  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.”

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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 injured.
  •  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.


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 Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  •  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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