- India pledged a 50 million dollars as assistance to Sri Lanka as National Security Advisor Ajit Doval called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and discussed a range of bilateral issues.
- Doval arrived in Colombo on an official visit during which he will also meet several foreign diplomats and discuss important issues of mutual interest
- The President’s office said Doval pledged that India will provide USD 50 million to Sri Lanka to help the country purchase equipment for its security forces.
Andhra Pradesh assembly passes Bill to establish three capitals
- The Andhra Pradesh assembly passed the Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill 2020
- The AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill 2020.
- The first steps the current YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government took in decentralizing the state’s capital between Amaravatri, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.
- Both the bills were passed late in the night,
- Chief minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
- Visakhapatnam be made the executive capital, Kurnool in the Rayalaseema region the legal capital with the high court located there, and suggested that Amaravati could house the governor’s office and the state assembly, becoming the legislative capital.
PM Narendra Modi, Nepal’s KP Sharma Oli to Inaugurate Jogbani-Biratnagar Check Post
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart KP Oli will jointly inaugurate the Integrated Check-Post (ICP) at Jogbani-Biratnagar border between the two countries.
- The check post has been built with India’s assistance in a bid to facilitate trade and people’s movement between two countries.
- This is the second ICP on the Nepal border.
- The first was built at the Raxaul-Birgunj border in 2018
Shinzo Abe says new unit will defend Japan from space tech threats
- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan will form a space defense unit to protect itself from potential threats as rivals develop missiles and other technology and the new unit will work closely with its American counterpart recently launched by President Donald Trump.
- The Space Domain Mission Unit will start in April as part of Japan’s Air Self- Defense Force, Abe said in a policy speech marking the start of the year’s parliamentary session.
- He said Japan must also defend itself from threats in cyberspace and from electromagnetic interference against Japanese satellites. Concerns are growing that China and Russia are seeking ways to interfere, disable or destroy satellites.
Sukhoi-30 fighter jets
- The Indian Air Force is raising a new squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets at the Thanjavur air force station in Tamil Nadu.
- A development that will boost the IAF’s capabilities in peninsular India and help keep an eye on the Indian Ocean Region where Chinese footprint is growing at a swift pace.
- The Sukhois will be equipped with the air version of the BrahMos cruise missile. The No. 222 squadron, nicknamed Tiger Sharks, is being raised with six Su-30 fighter jets and it will have its full complement of 18 warplanes by the year-end.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
China says coronavirus that killed 6 can spread between people
- The outbreak of a new coronavirus stemming from Wuhan, China, has killed six people with confirmed cases totaling nearly 300 ahead of the massive Lunar New Year holiday during which hundreds of millions of people are expected to travel.
- China’s authorities confirmed that the virus can pass from person to person.
- As of Monday evening, authorities said there were 291 confirmed cases in China.
- The outbreak has sparked alarm because it is in the same family of viruses as SARS.
- The coronavirus, which causes a type of pneumonia, was thought to have first originated at a wholesale seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan. It was first reported in late December.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) said it appears the outbreak began in an animal source.
IMF curtails India’s growth rate to 4.8%
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) marginally lowered its growth estimate for the world economy to 2.9 per cent for 2019, citing negative surprises to economic activity in a few emerging market economies, notably India, which led to a reassessment of growth prospects over the next two years.
- For 2019, the fund revised downward its forecast for India to 4.8 per cent from its October projection of 6.1 per cent.
- For the current calendar year 2020, India saw a sharp 1.2 percentage point cut in its growth forecast to 5.8 per cent, the biggest downward revision for any emerging market, which pulled down global growth forecast.
IAS officers Rajeev Singh Thakur, Shantanu appointed joint secretaries in military affairs dept
- Senior bureaucrats Rajeev Singh Thakur and Shantanu have been appointed as joint secretaries in the newly-created department of military affairs, as part of major bureaucratic reshuffle effected on Monday by the central government.
- The government had last month created the department of military affairs, which is headed by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat.
J.P. Nadda elected unopposed as BJP president
- Former Union Minister J.P. Nadda (59) was elected unopposed as the BJP’s national president, making him the 11th party chief.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was at the party headquarters to felicitate Mr.Nadda on his election, called him an “outstanding karyakarta” (party worker).
CM Palaniswami presents State awards for Tamil scholars
- Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami handed over the Thiruvalluvar Award for 2020 and the Thanthai Periyar Award for 2019 to N. Nithyanandha Bharathi and former Union Minister Gingee N.Ramachandran (who had quit the MDMK and joined the AIADMK), respectively, at an event in Chennai .
- The Annal Ambedkar Award was given to K.Arjunan, and the Perarignar Anna Award to K.Samarasam (AIADMK spokesperson).
- The CM also handed over the Perunthalaivar Kamarasar Award and the Mahakavi Bharathiyar Award to M.S.Mathivanan and P.Sivaraji respectively.
- Thenisai Chellappa and S.Sundararajan received the Pavendhar Bharathidasan Award and the Thamizhthendral Award respectively.
- Manimekalai Kannan received the Muthamizh Kavalar K.A.P.Viswanatham Award.
- The Thamizhthai Award for 2019 went to Chicago Tamil Sangam. Other award winners are: poet Vetriyazhagan (Kabilar Award), V.Mahadevan (U.Ve.Sa. Award), Saraswathi Ramanathan (Kambar Award) and Kavidasan (Sollin Selvar Award).
- Umaruppulavar Award went to Liakath Ali Khan and G.U.Pope Award was conferred on Maria Joseph Xavier. Gnanaselvan alias Thirugnanasambandham won the Ilango Adigal award and Amma Literary Award went to Umayal Muthu respectively.
- Sinthanai Sirpi Singaravelar Award was handed over to Ashoka Subramanian alias S.K.Subramanian and Maraimalai Adigalar Award went to P.Muthukumaraswamy. Ayothidas Pandithar Award was awarded to V.Prabhakaran. Awards for Best Translation were handed over to S.Mohammad Yousuf, K.J.Masthan Ali, Siva. Murugesan, N.Kadikasalam, Marabin Maindhan, Vatsala, Murugudurai, Malan alias V.Narayanan, Kirusangini alias Brinda Nagarajan and A.Mathivanan.
- Chief Minister’s Tamil Computing Award for 2018 was conferred on T.Nagarajan. Under the World Tamil Sangam, Madurai awards for 2019, P.Rajendran of Malaysia got the literary award, Muthu Kasturibai was handed over the grammar award and Subhathini Ramesh was conferred on with linguistic award.
- All award-winning personalities received a cash prize of Rs.1 lakh, a citation and a shawl. The institution that won the Thamizhthai Award received a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh.
Khelo India Youth Games 2020
- Soubrity Mondal of West Bengal won three gold medals, in the women’s U-21 200m Individual Medley, 200m Backstroke and 4x100m Medley Relay, as Maharashtra’s undisputed reign on top continued by crossing the 200-medal mark.