Gyaankosh – Current Affairs for February 2019 – Set 3

  • PM Narendra Modi has been honoured with the Seoul Peace Prize in recognition of his service to international cooperation, global growth and human development. Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among previous recipients of the award.
  • Lockheed Martin, US defence giant, unveiled the F-21 multi-role fighter jet at Aero India 2019. The company will manufacture the plane in collaboration with Tata Advanced System under flagship of Make in India programme.
  • William Barr is sworn in as US Attorney General for second time. He served in the same post from 1991 to 1993 during President George HW Bush’s administration.
  • Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a year-long state of emergency, dissolving his cabinet and local governments throughout the country. Since December 2018, various areas in Sudan have been witnessing popular protests over the deteriorating economic conditions and price hikes of basic commodities. Omar al-Bashir in a televised address called on Sudan’s parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.
  • Swachhata Excellence award 2019 was bagged by the Raigarh Municipal Corporation of Chhattisgarh.  The Municipal Corporations of Ambikapur of Chhattisgarh won second and the Municipal Corporations of Kumbakonam of Tamil Nadu bagged the third prizes respectively. All of these are Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) cities. The Awards were given by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) as part of the Shehri Samriddhi Utsav.
  • Infosys, the country’s 2nd largest IT firm has launched a next-generation digital platform ‘InfyTQ’ to facilitate engineering students with best learning experiences by imparting technical and professional skills. InfyTQ is a free platform available on both mobile and desktop, featured with anytime, anywhere learning catered through a continuous transfer of digital skills.
  • Australia officially declared a Great Barrier Reef rodent extinct, making it the first mammal believed to have been killed off by human-induced climate change. The small brown rat has not been seen since 2009. It was found only on a small sand island near the coast of Papua New Guinea. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Australia has the third highest extinction rate of all nations, surpassed by only French Polynesia and the Republic of Mauritius.
  • The 79th Indian History Congress (IHC) is to be held at Barkatullah University in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh from 26 February 2019. The 79th Indian History Congress was supposed to be held at Pune but was cancelled citing financial constraints to host the congress. Over 1,000 delegates including prominent historians are expected to participate in the IHC in Bhopal. Indian History Congress.
  • Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) signed an annual deal with USA worth $1.5 billion to import 3 million tonnes of crude oil in new fiscal year starting April 1.
  • Novak Djokovic was named World Sportsman of the Year and United State gymnast Simone Biles was named Sportswoman of the Year at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards, while Tiger Woods won the World Comeback of the Year award. The Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year is an annual award honoring the achievements of individual men from the world of sports. Yuwa, a Jharkhand-based NGO working for girl empowerment, won the Laureus Sport for Good award and became the third Indian entry to bag the honour.
  • Qatar Open 2019 title is won by Belgium’s Elise Mertens after defeating top seed Simona Halep of Romania by 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in Women’s Single category. Men’s Single category was won by R.Bautista Agut of Spain by beating T. Berdych of Czechoslovakia.
  • A new microinsurance plan ‘Micro Bachat’ was launched by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India. It provides coverage of up to 2 lakhs and is the first micro-insurance plan to do so. It provides both protection and savings and is a regular premium, non-linked, participating endowment microinsurance plan. In case a policyholder dies, this plan would provide financial assistance to the family. For surviving policyholders, a lump sum amount at the time of maturity shall be provided It can be availed only by standard healthy citizens in the age group of 18-55 years without undergoing any medical examination.
  • Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, launched SWAYATT in New Delhi. SWAYATT is an initiative to promote Start-ups, Women and Youth Advantage Through eTransactions on Government e Marketplace (GeM). This will bring together the key stakeholders within the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem to Government e-Marketplace the national procurement portal.
  • The Union Cabinet approved the new National Electronics Policy 2019 that aims to achieve a turnover of $400 billion for the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector by 2025, while generating employment opportunities for one crore people. To promote the creation of an ecosystem, the NEP 2019 has pitched for 2.0 version of the Electronics Manufacturing Cluster scheme, under which infrastructure support will be provided for a group of industries that are part of the product supply chain rather than individual industries. 
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL)’s Mark I (MkI) Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) designed and developed in India has got its FOC certification. The FOC or Final Operational Clearance certifies that the world’s lightest fighter plane is ready for use. LCA-MkI would soon be inducted into the Indian Air Force.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in an attempt to provide relief to and boost investments into start-ups in India has decided to simplify the process for them to get exemptions under the Income Tax Act, 1961. It will now recognize an entity as a start-up up to 10 years from the date of its incorporation or registration instead of the existing duration of 7 years. It will also recognize an entity as a start-up if its turnover for any of the financial years since its incorporation or registration does not exceed Rs 100 crore unlike the previous amount of Rs 25 crore.
  • The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has hiked interest rate on employees’ provident fund (PF) deposits by 0.10 per cent from 8.55% to 8.65% for the 2018-19 financial year. This move will benefit six crore EPFO subscribers. The fund, which consists retirement savings of over Rs 11 lakh crore, is managed by the EPFO. 
  • Piramal Enterprises Ltd’s (PEL) pain relief tablet brand Saridon has been exempted from the list of banned fixed dose combinations (FDCs) by the Supreme Court. In September 2018, the government had banned 328 FDCs, which were termed ‘irrational’ on the basis of safety issues and lack of therapeutic justification.
  • The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry launched Operation Digital Board on the lines of Operation Blackboard to provide better digital education in school. The government has aimed at equipping 9 lakh classrooms in schools and colleges across the country (7 lakh classrooms of 9th, 10th and 11th standards and 2 lakh classrooms of colleges and Universities) with digital facilities for teaching by 2022.
  • The 91st Academy Awards ceremony was held in California on 24th February 2019. The list of winners are as follows:
    • Best Picture: Green Book
    • Best Director: Alfonso Cuarónfor “Roma”
    • Best Actress: Olivia Colmanfor “The Favourite”
    • Best Actor: Rami Malekfor “Bohemian Rhapsody”
    • Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali for “Green Book”
    • Best Supporting Actress: Regina King for “If Beale Street Could Talk”
    • Best Original Song: “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born”, (Warner Bros.) Music and Lyrics by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
    • Best Original Score: “Black Panther”, (Walt Disney)Music and Lyrics by Ludwig Goransson
    • Best Adapted Screenplay: “BlacKkKlansman”, Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
    • Best Original Screenplay: “Green Book”, Written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly
    • Achievement in Visual Effects: Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm for “First Man”
    • Best Documentary Short Subject: “Period. End of Sentence.”
    • Best Animated Short Film: “Bao”
    • Best Live Action Short Film: “Skin”
    • Best Animated Feature Film: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
    • Best Foreign Language Film: “Roma”
    • Achievement in Sound Mixing: Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali for “Bohemian Rhapsody”
    • Achievement in Sound Editing: John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone for “Bohemian Rhapsody”
    • Achievement in Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma”
    • Achievement in Production Design: Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart for “Black Panther”
    • Achievement in Film Editing: John Ottman for “Bohemian Rhapsody”
    • Achievement in Costume Design: Ruth Carter for “Black Panther”
    • Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney for “Vice”
    • Best Documentary Feature: Free Solo
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