Current Affairs – February 21, 2018

Pakistan riskiest place to be born, India safer but not by much, shows UNICEF report

Pakistan is the riskiest country to be born in, with one in 22 babies born there die before they turn one month old, according to a Unicef report released on 20th February. India’s neonatal mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) is 25.4, which ranks it at 12 among 52 “lower-middle-income countries” in terms of risk for newborns. While this is better than Pakistan, it is far behind India’s less prosperous neighbors.
In the same ‘lower middle-income’ countries group as India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka has the lowest neonatal mortality rate of 5.2, which is comparable with high-income countries. Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan are also ahead of India in neonatal survival. The safest nation for birth on the list is Japan, where less than one in 1,000 babies dies by the time they complete a month.
UNICEF – United Nations International Children’s Education Fund
6th Executive Director of UNICEF is Anthony Lake
UNICEF headquarters: New York, USA

India to host World Environment Day 2018 celebrations with ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ theme

India will host World Environment Day (WED) 2018, scheduled to be held on June 5, with a ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ theme. The announcement was made by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Erik Solheim, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Head of UN Environment, at an event held in Delhi. Beat Plastic Pollution, the theme for WED 2018, urges governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic polluting our oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health.
“India is excited to host the WED this year on June 5. Indian philosophy and lifestyle have long been rooted in the concept of coexistence with nature. We are committed to making Planet Earth a cleaner and greener place”, said Dr. Harsh Vardhan. WED observed annually on 5 June for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. It was established by United Nations General Assembly to mark opening of United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972.
Headquarters of UNEP: Nairobi, Kenya
United Nations Environment Programme Director- Erik Solheim

Union Cabinet approvals on 20th February 2018

1. Cabinet approves creation of National Urban Housing Fund
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs.60,000 crores for urban housing sector
2. Cabinet approves India-Morocco agreement for cooperation in Rail sector
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20, 2018, approved the Cooperation Agreement between India and the Moroccan National Railways Office (ONCF) to develop long-term cooperation and partnership in different areas of railway sector
3. Cabinet approves agreement between India, Israel on Film Co-production
The agreement on co-production of films with an international party would enable Indian producers to gain access to international funds and collaborate on the script, talent, and distribution at international level
4. Cabinet approves proposal for constitution of tribunal to resolve Mahanadi Water Disputes
The adjudication of dispute by the tribunal is expected to finally bring an end to the long-pending dispute between states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh over Mahanadi River water
5. Cabinet approves new bill to ban Unregulated Deposit Schemes and Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018
The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 is aimed at tackling the menace of illicit deposit-taking activities in the country. The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 aims to facilitate the orderly growth of the Chit Funds sector and remove bottlenecks being faced by the Chit Funds industry.

India, Indonesia joint military drill begins in Bandung

The Indian and Indonesian armies began the 6th edition of their annual military exercises in the West Java province of the archipelago country. The opening ceremony of the two-week Garuda Shakti military drill between the Special Forces of the Indian Army and the Indonesian Army was held at Bandung. The exercises will include experience sharing in counter-terrorism operations, close quarter combat, and other areas of special operations, an official statement said.
“This joint exercise between Indian and Indonesian Special Forces highlights the increasing trust and cooperation between the two armies. ”Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Pradeep Kumar Rawat attended the opening ceremony along with Indonesian military officers. Indonesia Defence Minister General Ryamizard Ryacudu visited India last month for the Biennial Defence Ministers Dialogue in New Delhi. The two sides renewed their commitment to deepen defense and security exchanges.
Capital: Jakarta
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah

World Day of Social Justice: 20th February 2018

The World Day of Social Justice was observed across the world on February 20, 2018, with an aim to recognize the need to promote efforts to tackle several issues like exclusion, unemployment, and poverty. According to United Nations, social justice is an underlying principle for prosperous and peaceful coexistence within and among nations. Social justice means removal of barriers that people face in the name of gender, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, and culture. The theme of World Day of Social Justice 2018 is ‘Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice’.
As per the United Nations, most of the migration today is linked directly or indirectly to the search for decent work opportunities. There are an estimated 258 million international migrants. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that there are roughly 150 million migrant workers who account for 4.4 percent of all workers. Among migrant workers, 56 percent are men and 44 percent are women.
ILO headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Established: 1919

India Successfully Test-Fires Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Agni II Missile

An indigenously developed intermediate-range nuclear-capable ballistic Agni II was successfully test-fired on 20th February at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast. The trial was conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Indian Army as part of its user training exercise, a defense ministry official said. The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) had successfully tested country’s longest indigenously developed nuclear missile Agni-V in January and short-range nuclear-capable ballistic Agni-I earlier this month.
The intermediate-range nuclear-capable ballistic Surface to Air Agni II is indigenously made and has already been inducted into the Indian Army. It has a strike range of more than 2,000 km and is 20 meters long. It weighs 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg.

GoAir appoints Jyri Strandman as Chief Operating Officer

GoAir recently announced the appointment of Jyri Strandman as Chief Operating Officer. He will report to Managing Director, Jeh Wadia and be a part of the airline’s core management team. Jyri will be responsible for strengthening GoAir’s operational functions of Flight Operations; Engineering; Airport, Security, and Airside Operations (ASA); Flight Safety; Inflight Services (IFS) and Integrated Operations Control Center (IOCC).
Launched in November 2005, GoAir is the aviation foray of the Wadia Group and currently operates across 23 destinations with over 1544 weekly flights and approximately 2,000 plus connections weekly. The airline uses state-of-the-art Airbus A320 and A320neo aircraft fleet to maintain the highest standards of safety for its passengers.
GoAir Headquarters: Mumbai

USIBC forms India Advisory Council to enhance bilateral ties

A top American business advocacy group has announced the formation of an India Advisory Council to enhance bilateral strategic and economic partnership. India Advisory Council of the US India Business Council is a group of India-based leaders of American and Indian companies that “play an important role in helping create that strategic lens to the economic partnership,” USIBC president Nisha Desai Biswal told.
The 11 members of the USIBC- Indian Advisory Council include Arun Kumar, chairman and CEO of KPMG India; Pramath Raj Sinha founder and managing director 9.9 media; Manoj Adlakha from American Express banking Corporation; Krish Iyer from Walmart India; Vanitha Narayan from IBM India, Prabal Chakraborty from Boston Scientific and Nishith Desai from Nishith Desai and Associates. Udayant Malhotra from Dynamatic Technologies Limited, Nivruti Rai who heads Intel India and Rekha Menon from Accenture are other members of the USIBCa s India Advisory Council.

ICC rankings: Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and India are No. 1 in ODIs

India captain Virat Kohli has reclaimed the No 1 spot in the ICC ODI batsmen rankings, while fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has become the top-ranked ODI bowler, as per the latest reshuffling of the rankings. India, following their 5-1 series win over South Africa, has become the No 1 team in the ICC ODI Championship. AB de Villiers is No. 2 in the ODI batsmen rankings with 844 points, followed by David Warner with 823. The next best Indian is Rohit Sharma, at the sixth position.
Bumrah has moved up two spots to No 1 after taking eight wickets against South Africa, which gave him a total of 787 points – joint with Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan. Other big gainers on the ODI bowlers table was leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who broke into the top ten after taking 16 wickets against South Africa. India’s series win was their first on South African soil and pushed them past the hosts to No 1. They already are the top-ranked team in Test cricket and third in T20Is.

 

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