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In brief:

  • Amid a countrywide brouhaha over the implementation of the amended citizenship law, the Odisha government has initiated the process to update the National Population Register (NPR), with the launch of a pilot survey
  • A door-to-door survey would be conducted soon as part of the process.
  • Amid fears that the exercise could be a precursor to NRC implementation, the Union Cabinet had last month given its go-ahead for Census 2021 and NPR updation, while making it clear that the apprehensions were unfounded.


Pakistan Passes Crucial Bill for Exchange of Information & Criminals to Meet
FATF Requirement

  • Pakistan Parliament has passed an important bill for the exchange of information and criminals with countries to meet a key requirement of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which has placed the country on the Grey List for an extended period till next month.
  • The FATF, which kept Pakistan on the Grey List for an extended period till February 2020, had warned in October that Islamabad would be put on the Black List if it did not comply with the remaining 22 points in a list of 27 questions.

Space X Launches 60 Starlink Satellites

  • Space X kicked off 2020 with the record-breaking launch of its third batch of Starlink satellites.
  • Sixty of the internet-beaming satellites launched atop a used Falcon 9 booster.
  • The mission was the first launch under the watch of the newly minted U.S. Space Force, a military branch that President Donald Trump signed into law last month.
  • The satellites rode into space atop a reused Falcon 9 first stage, marking the second time the company has flown a booster four times.
  • The star of this mission, dubbed B1049.4 by SpaceX, previously lofted the first batch of Starlink satellites as well as the Iridium-8 and Telstar-18 VANTAGE missions.
  • With this launch, it brings SpaceX’s burgeoning constellation up to 180 satellites, making it the largest satellite fleet in orbit.

UAE’s new 5-year visa scheme

  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced a five-year multiple-entry visa scheme for all nationalities, in a move that is geared towards promoting tourism in the country.
  • “Today we approved the change of the tourist visa system in the country so that the duration of the tourist visa is five years, multi-use for all nationalities. We receive more than 21 million tourists annually and our aim is to establish the country as a major global tourist destination,” UAE‟s Vice-President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed said in a tweet in Arabic.
  • Tourists could get single or multiple-entry visas for a duration of 30 or 90 days.
  • In the new five-year multiple-entry system, visa holders may be allowed to stay for six months at a stretch. The details of the scheme are yet to be announced.
  • The country‟s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship will be implementing the decision.


Silver Jubilee Edition of IIT Madras ‘Saarang,’ one of India’s largest student-run Cultural Fests

  • The 25th Edition of Saarang, one of India‟s largest annual cultural festival organized annually by IIT Madras, will be held between 8th and 12th January 2020.
  • Every year, Saarang hosts more than 100 events and a footfall of 70,000 from over 500 colleges.
  • The Theme of the Silver Jubilee Edition of this festival, which is completely organized by IIT Madras students, is „Madras Memoirs.‟
  • It is all set to evoke the memories of its decades‟ worth of history, and tap into the rich heritage and culture of its mother city.
  • The festival kicks off with a „Classical Night‟ on 8th January 2020.
  • The Asia Book Record holder Mr. Rajhesh Vaidhya, a pioneer in his field of South Indian music with his use of electric and amplified strings, will grace the Open Air Theatre of Saarang.


The ThinkEdu Conclave

  • Every year, since 2013, The New Indian Express has brought some of the finest minds and changemakers in the country on one platform to discuss the state of education and where the youth are headed in the country.
  • This year‟s edition, which begins on January 8 in Chennai and runs through January 9, carries that legacy forward by presenting ideas around the theme, “India At 75: Vision 2022‟.
  • Like last year, the ThinkEdu Conclave will be inaugurated by the Governor of Tamil Nadu Banwarilal Purohit at the ITC Grand Chola, and he will share his vision about educating tomorrow‟s India.
  • The conclave will provide a podium for dialogue between political stalwarts and authors like Subramanian Swamy and Shashi Tharoor, as well as one of India‟s youngest leaders, Sachin Pilot, the Deputy CM of Rajasthan.
  • With Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Irani, Union Minister of HRD, Ramesh Pokhriyal and Minister of State of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju engaging in conversations about whether our education system and the proposed revamp will help us, the conclave promises to have some memorable crossing of words and sparks.


FY20 GDP growth at 5% as per first advance estimate

  • India‟s economy is expected to grow 5% in the current fiscal, the statistics ministry, signalling what would be the slowest pace of annual growth since the current 2012-13 data series was introduced.
  • Yet, the estimate, which is in line with the central bank‟s latest projection made, raises hopes that the second half of the fiscal may turn out to be better than the first.
  • The economy expanded at 6.8% in FY19.
  • The latest projection indicates that the economy is expected to grow at 5.25% in the second half, after expanding 5% in April-June and 4.5% in July-September, its slowest pace in 25 quarters.
  • Economists said any recovery that this suggests may be weak.
  • Asia‟s third-largest economy has been witnessing a sharp deceleration in growth, which slid from 8.2% in FY17 to 6.8% in FY19.


Govt announces first ‘Antarrashtriya Yoga Diwas Media Samman’

  • This award was conferred on January 7, 2020, to 30 media houses.
  • The objective behind this award is to bring positivity and acknowledge the role of media in the outreach of Yoga in the world.
  • This award was instituted in June 2019 to mark the role of media in spreading the message among masses.
  • Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar will confer the first “Antarrashtriya Yoga Diwas Media Samman‟.
  • 11 awards were given under the Best Media Coverage category of Yoga Day in Newspapers.
  • 8 awards were conferred under the category of “Best Media Coverage of Yoga on Television.
  • Apart from that, 11 awards were given under the category “Best Media Coverage of Yoga in Radio.
  • Antarrashtriya Yoga Diwas Media Samman‟ consists of a medal, plaque, trophy, and a citation
  • A jury, consisting of 6 members, assessed the entries for the award. This jury was headed by Justice C. K. Prasad (Chairman, Press Council of India)


Rabindra Nath Mahato elected as Jharkhand Assembly Speaker

  • Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MLA Rabindra Nath Mahato was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the Jharkhand Assembly
  • Chief Minister Hemant Soren proposed Mahato‟s name for the post which was seconded by JMM MLA Champai Soren during the second of the three-day session of the Assembly.


Ronaldo begins 2020 with 1st Serie A hat-trick for Juventus

  • Cristiano Ronaldo started 2020 on the right foot posting his 56th career hat-trick for club and country to lead Juventus over Cagliari 4-0 in Serie A


  • Two ships of the Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) arrived in Goa to participate in the 12th edition of the Indo-Oman bilateral naval exercise.
  • “Naseem-Al-Bahr” (or sea breeze) is a naval exercise between the Indian Navy and the RNO, being conducted since 1993.
  • Indian Navy ships Beas and Subhadra are participating in it, with harbour phase in Goa followed by sea phase off the Goa coast.

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