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  • India and Sri Lanka are all set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the Jaffna International Airport, located in the country’s Tamil-dominated Northern Province.
  • The decision comes a day after the Sri Lankan Cabinet approved a proposal for the MoU with India for the project, which would include terminal modification and electricity supplies among others.
  • India has already agreed to provide Sri Lanka with a grant of 300 million Sri Lankan rupees (Rs 11.83 cr) for the development of the airport which started its international flights last year.
  • The airport would add to the socio-economic welfare of the Tamil dominated Northern province, whose capital Jaffna was the base from where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ran their military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland for nearly 30 years.
  • The campaign ended in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

WORLD

India ranks 131 on flourishing index: Report

  • The report includes a new global index of 180 countries
  • Norway leads the table for survival, health, education and nutrition rates – followed by South Korea and the Netherlands. Central African Republic, Chad and Somalia come at the bottom.
  • No country in the world is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures, said a report released by a Commission of World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF.
  • The report includes a new global index of 180 countries, comparing performance on child flourishing, including measures of child survival and well-being, such as health, education, and nutrition; sustainability, with a proxy for greenhouse gas emissions, and equity, or income gaps.
  • If global warming exceeds 4°C by the year 2100 in line with current projections, this would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heat waves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition, the Commission noted.

TAMILNADU

TN assembly passes bill to declare Cauvery Delta as Protected Agricultural Zone

  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami introduced a bill in the state legislative assembly to declare the Cauvery Delta region in the state as a Protected Special Agriculture Zone.
  • The Bill said, since certain non-farming activities were adversely affecting agriculture in the region, threatening the State’s food security, “to protect the agriculture in this region, it is proposed to prohibit certain activities in the region.
  • The Bill also sought to establish a 30-member Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Authority headed by the Chief Minister to advise the government on various measures to protect and improve farming activities to increase farm production and farm productivity to serve the interest of farmers.
  • The proposed PSAZ would comprise of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts and five blocks each in Cuddalore and Pudukkottai districts. These areas have been listed under the First Schedule of the Act, to which the government may add or omit any area in the future.
  • The government has identified zinc smelter, iron ore process plants, copper smelter, aluminium smelter, tannery, and ship breaking industries among others as industries that adversely affect agriculture developments in the PSAZ. This list in the Second Schedule of the Act too, is subject to omission and addition subsequently.
  • The legislation would not affect infrastructure developments in the protected agricultural zone such as harbour, pipelines, road, telecommunications, power, water supply and other utilities.

APPOINTMENTS

  • Rajiv Bansal appointed chairman and managing director of Air India
  • Senior bureaucrat Rajiv Bansal was appointed as the chairman and managing director of Air India for a second time.
  • Bansal, a 1988-batch IAS officer of the Nagaland cadre, is currently the additional secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • He replaces Ashwani Lohani, who has completed his one-year tenure as the head of the airline.

CONFERENCE

International Conference on Small Arms

  • FICCI in association with Centre for Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS ) is pleased to announce International Conference on Small Arms: From Current Paradigm on Small Arms to Next Level to be held on 20th February 2020, FICCI, Federation House, New Delhi.

IMPORTANT DAYS

  • International Mother Language Day 2020: On 21st February, International Mother Language Day (IMLD) will be celebrated as a worldwide annual observance of UNESCO
  • MHRD will also observe Matribhasha Diwas on 21st Feb to highlight the linguistic diversity of our country.
  • The central theme for International Mother Language Day 2020 is ‘Languages without borders’.

SPORTS

Asian Wrestling Championship: Indian Women Dominate With 3 Gold Medals

  • Divya Kakran became only the second Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championship
  • Divya won all four bouts in five-wrestler 68kg category, as the competition was fought in the round robin format
  • On a memorable day for the hosts, the Indian girls reached four out of five finals with Divya (68kg), Pinki (55kg) and Sarita (59kg) standing on top of the podium.
  • Nirmala Devi settled for a silver in 50kg while Kiran (76kg) was the only one to miss out on a medal.
  • Navjot Kaur had become the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Asian Championships in 2018.

NEWS HINTS

IRCTC launches third private train Kashi Mahakal Express

  • Kashi Mahakal Express, the new private train by IRCTC, will run between Varanasi and Indore
  • The new Kashi Mahakal Express will connect three places – Jyotirlinga- Omkareshwar (near Indore in Madhya Pradesh), Mahakaleshwar (Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh) and Kashi Vishwanath (Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh)
  • The government has unveiled a programme to research on ‘indigenous’ cows- SUTRA PIC.