Daily Current Affairs - 19th Feb 2017

South Asian Speaker’s summit at Indore

  • Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has inaugurated the two-day South Asian Speaker’s summit at Indore in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Summit is being organized by the Indian Parliament and Inter-Parliamentary Union. Speakers of six countries will deliberate on ways to achieve sustainable development goals during the two day summit.
  • On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit, officially came into force.
  • They are 'No Poverty', 'Zero Hunger', 'Good Health and Well-being', 'Quality Education', 'Gender Equality', 'Clean Water and Sanitation', 'Affordable and Clean Energy', 'Decent Work and Economic Growth', 'Industry, Innovation and infrastructure', Reduced Inequalities', 'Sustainable Cities and Communities', 'Responsible Consumption and Production', 'Climate Action', 'Life Below Water', 'Life on Land', 'Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions' and 'Partnerships for the Goals'.
  • Sustainable development means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

NRAI gets highest WHO ratings for vaccine regulations

  • The National Regulatory Authority of India (NRAI) has been given the maximum ratings by the global health body World Health Organisation (WHO) for vaccine regulations.
  • The WHO completed the assessment of the status of the Indian vaccine regulatory system against WHO NRA Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT) and measured the maturity of the system in India
  • A fully functional NRA is a pre-requisite for WHO prequalification of vaccines and one of the requirements to become eligible and retain prequalification status is to have the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) assessed as 'functional' against the WHO published NRA indicators.
  • WHO Prequalification Programme facilitates access to vaccines that meet the unified standards of quality, safety and efficacy as well as programme needs.
  • India is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of vaccines world-wide.
  • WHO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • WHO Director General: Margaret Chan.

Lata Mangeshkar gets Legendary Award

  • Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar has been honoured with the ‘Legendary Award’ by the Brand Laureate.
  • The Brand Laureate Awards recognises world-class achievement in branding among individuals and companies.
  • In conjunction with the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation, the organisation presents the Brand Laureate Awards.
  • The Brand Laureate is headquartered in Malaysia.
  • In 2012, actor Shah Rukh Khan was honoured with the Brand Laureate Legendary Award for his unmatched contribution to Indian Cinema.
  • The Brand Laureate Legendary Award has been earlier given to the likes of former South African president Nelson Mandela, Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus, Indian businessman Ratan Tata, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Facebook CEO Marck Zuckerburg and F1 ace Michael Schumacher.
  • Malaysia Capital: Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia Currency: Malaysian Ringgit.

GSLV’s cryogenic upper stage tested successfully

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation’s quest for having the most powerful and world-class launch vehicle to take heavier satellites weighing about 4 tonnes to predetermined geosynchronous orbit crossed the final hurdle when the Liquid Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu successfully ground-tested indigenously developed GSLV MK III’s cryogenic upper stage C-25.
  • The C25 stage is the most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO and uses Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen propellant combination.
  • GSLV - Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.
  • ISRO Chairman: A.S. Kirankumar.
  • ISRO Headquarters: Bengaluru.

Pakistan Senate passes Hindu Marriage Bill

  • The landmark bill to regulate marriages of minority Hindus in Pakistan is set to become a law with the Senate unanimously passing it.
  • The bill had already been approved by the lower house or the National Assembly in 2015, and it now needs signature of the President to become a law.
  • The bill relates to marriage, registration of marriage, separation and remarriage, with the minimum age of marriage set at 18 years for both boys and girls.
  • Hindus constitute approximately 2% of Pakistan's population.
  • Hindus are found in all provinces of Pakistan but are mostly concentrated in the Sindh Province.
  • Pakistan Capital: Islamabad.
  • Pak Currency: Pakistani Rupee.

Pak Army kills 100 militants after Sufi shrine attack

  • Pakistan claimed that it has killed more than 100 militants in a security crackdown following a suicide bombing attack by the ISIS on a shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Pakistan's Sindh province that left at least 80 people dead.
  • Pakistan has closed the Pak-Afghan border accusing Afghanistan of harbouring militant sanctuaries.
  • A number of militants, especially many members of the Pakistani Taliban group , moved to Afghanistan after the Pak military's operation in North Waziristan in 2014.
  • They are mostly based in eastern Afghanistan. Some of these militants later joined the Islamic State group.
  • The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a terrorist group that is headquartered in Raqa, Syria.
  • Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army: General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
  • The Durand Line is the international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Malaysia rejects North Korean demand to hand over body of Kim Jong-Nam

  • Malaysia has rejected North Korea's demand to hand over the body of Kim Jong-Nam, the assassinated half-brother of North Korea's leader, saying it would only be released when his family provide DNA samples.
  • Kim Jong-Nam was assassinated at Kuala Lumpur international airport on Monday.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. lawmakers wanted to re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, a designation lifted nine years ago by Bush Jr.. The US intends to isolate North Korea to force it to halt its secret nuclear and missile programmes.
  • North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Capital: Pyongyang.
  • Currency: North Korean won.
  • Supreme Leader of North Korea: Kim Jong-un.
  • PM of Malaysia: Najib Razak.

Pak's Punjab Govt includes Hafiz Saeed in Anti-Terrorism Act

  • Jamat ud Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed has been listed under Pakistan’s anti-terrorism act by the provincial Punjab government.
  • In 2012, the US had announced a bounty of $10 million on Saeed for his alleged role in the Mumbai attack in which six American citizens were also killed.
  • Hafiz Saeed is also a founding member of the banned terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
  • Jamat ud Dawah functions as the charitable wing of LeT.
  • Another Pak terrorist who was in the news recently is Masood Azhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed.
  • China has recently put a hold on the US move, in the UN Security Council, to list Azhar as a terrorist.
  • Capital of Pak's Punjab Province: Lahore.
  • The UN Security Council is composed of 15 members: five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the UK, and the USAnd ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the UN General Assembly.

Govt. junks border wall plan

  • The Centre has given up its proposal to build a wall along the Pakistan border in Jammu, originally envisaged as a barrier to cross-border terror.
  • Instead, the Union Home Ministry is now working on a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) for 24X7 surveillance.
  • As part of this system, the government intends to depend on technology such as a 'smart fence', a seamless virtual fence with sensors and laser technologies to identify any infiltration.
  • The International Border separates India and Pakistan, according to Radcliffe Commission recommendations. It starts from Rann of Kutch, Gujarat and ends in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Radcliffe Line was published on 17 August 1947 as a boundary demarcation line between India and Pakistan upon the Partition of India. It was named after Sir Cyril Radcliffe, chairman of the Boundary Commissions established by the UK in 1947.

Edappadi Palaniswami wins trust vote

  • The speaker of Tamil Nadu's Legislative Assembly has declared that the new Chief Minister of TN Edappadi Palaniswami of AIADMK has won the trust vote with 122 votes.
  • Of the AIADMK’s official strength of 134, there are 12 dissidents including former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.
  • Palaniswamy, known to be a V.K. Sasikala loyalist, sought a vote of confidence, although he was given 15 days by Governor Vidyasagar Rao to prove his majority.
  • V.K. Sasikala, who was the close aide of former TN CM Jayalalithaa, is the current general secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)
  • After a prolonged political crisis due to power struggle within the ruling AIADMK after the death of Jayalalitha, Governor Vidyasagar Rao invited Palaniswamy to form the Government and administered oath of office and secrecy.