TODAY ON February 05, 2023
GK News Headlines
U.S. downs Chinese balloon, a flashpoint in U.S.-China tensions
The United States downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast on orders from President Joe Biden after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America, becoming the latest flashpoint in tensions between Washington and Beijing. The debris landed in 47 feet of water, shallower than they had expected. Still, it was not immediately clear how long the recovery would take.
Adani saga worries India’s neighbourhood
With the Adani Group’s slide in fortunes and the cancellation of the Adani Enterprises FPO, governments in neighbouring countries are watching the company’s market situation closely, even as the Ministry of External Affairs made it clear that any setback to projects would not affect ties, emphasizing that the Adani stock’s fall was “not a foreign policy issue”.
Insurance companies under scanner for rampant tax evasion
The Income Tax Department is likely to start prosecuting insurance companies soon, as it has found rampant industry-wide irregularities and “tax evasion” in the commission payments made to agents while bypassing norms laid down by the insurance regulator, India’s direct tax department head said.
ISRO-NASA built NISAR satellite ready to be shipped to India for launch
An earth-observation satellite jointly developed by NASA and ISRO that will help study Earth’s land and ice surfaces in greater detail is all set to be shipped to India later this month for a possible launch in September. ISRO and NASA joined hands in 2014 to build the 2,800 kg satellite. In March 2021, ISRO sent its S-Band SAR payload developed in India to NASA for integration with the L-Band payload built by JPL.
Pradhan, Mandaviya and Annamalai given charge of BJP’s Karnataka Assembly poll campaign
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Karnataka on Monday, BJP president J.P. Nadda announced that Minister for Education Dharmendra Pradhan will be party in-charge of the upcoming State Assembly elections, with Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya and BJP Tamil Nadu president K. Annamalai as co-incharge. Karnataka is to go to polls in April-May.
PM Modi, M.K. Stalin, music industry condole passing of Vani Jairam
Political leaders and icons of the music industry expressed their condolences at the passing of veteran playback singer Vani Jairam, noting her influence and contribution to the industry. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “The talented Vani Jairam Ji will be remembered for her melodious voice and rich works, which covered diverse languages and reflected different emotions.” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, in a statement, said that Vani Jairam’s death was an irreplaceable loss to the music industry.
Nagaland Assembly polls | Congress announces first list of 21 candidates
The Congress released its first list of 21 candidates for the Nagaland Assembly polls, fielding its State unit chief K. Therie from Dimapur-I. The list was released after a meeting of the Central Election Committee, headed by party chief Mallikarjun Kharge. Other candidates in the party's first list are S. Amento Chisti from Dimapur II(ST), V. Lasuh from Dimapur III(ST), Akavi Zhimomi from Ghaspani-I and Rosy Thomas from Tenning (ST).
Grenade explodes near Sunny Leone’s fashion show venue in Manipur
Unidentified miscreants exploded a grenade near a spot in Manipur’s capital Imphal in the early hours of Saturday, close to where Bollywood actor Sunny Leone is scheduled to participate in a fashion parade on February 5. The venue of the fashion show, which is in the heart of Imphal, was empty. Officials in Imphal East district said the blast occurred a little after 6 a.m. on Saturday in the Hapta Kangjeibung area under the Porompat police station.
Activist files complaint against Ramdev for controversial remarks against Muslims in Bihar
A Bihar-based rights activist filed a complaint against yoga guru Ramdev for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of Muslims with his remarks at a recent meeting of seers. At a meeting of seers in Rajasthan’s Barmer on Friday, the yoga guru had accused Muslims of resorting to terror and abducting Hindu women, while comparing Hinduism to Islam and Christianity.
Crackdown on child marriages; 139 people arrested in Assam's Biswanath
Assam police have arrested 139 people in Biswanath district as part of its State-wide crackdown on child marriages after CM Himanta Biswa Sarma directed to end the problem. Addressing a press conference, Assam Director-General of Police (DGP) G.P. Singh said that in the last two days, police arrested 2,044 people across the State, as part of the crackdown on child marriage, and 4,074 cases have been registered so far.
Dipa Karmakar handed 21-month ban after failing dope test
Star gymnast Dipa Karmakar has been handed a 21-month ban for failing a dope test conducted by the International Testing Agency, contrary to claims made by Indian officials that her "suspension" last year was not related to doping offence. Her ban period will, however, end on July 10 this year as it was counted from the day (October 11, 2021) the sample was collected.
Budget's main focus is growth; Mumbai should be liking proposals: FM
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said growth is the main focus of the Budget for FY24 presented by her recently. The Budget proposals establish both fiscal consolidation and growth, especially inclusive growth, Ms. Sitharaman said during her maiden interaction with stakeholders outside the National Capital. She also thanked the Budget-making team for making it possible to devote such a high quantum of resources for the task amid the myriad challenges like the need for fiscal consolidation. “Mumbai should be liking it [the proposals],” Ms. Sitharaman said.
ED questions Rahul Gandhi's aide in money laundering case against TMC functionary
The Enforcement Directorate has recorded the statement of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s aide Alankar Sawai in connection with the money laundering case against Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale, whose crowd-funding campaigns have been alleged to have irregularities. The money laundering investigation is based on a case registered by the Cyber Crime police station in Ahmedabad City against Mr. Gokhale and others.
Twitter will share ad revenue with creators who pay for Twitter Blue
Twitter has started sharing advertising revenue to compensate creators for the advertisements which are visible in their threads, according to CEO Elon Musk. The new initiative is likely meant to encourage more users and creators to sign up for the paid Twitter Blue service, as well as engage with others on the platform more frequently.
ChatGPT, fastest-growing consumer app, in spotlight as EU bats for tougher AI rules
EU industry chief Thierry Breton has said new proposed artificial intelligence rules will aim to tackle concerns about the risks around the ChatGPT chatbot and AI technology, in the first comments on the app by a senior Brussels official. "As showcased by ChatGPT, AI solutions can offer great opportunities for businesses and citizens, but can also pose risks. This is why we need a solid regulatory framework to ensure trustworthy AI based on high-quality data," he told Reuters in written comments.
The Supreme Court’s strength will go up to 32 judges, once the five judges take oath early next week. It is currently functioning with 27 judges, including the Chief Justice of India.
The Supreme Court’s strength will go up to 32 judges, once the five judges take oath early next week. It is currently functioning with 27 judges, including the Chief Justice of India. | Photo Credit: The Hindu
Without naming Adani Group, SEBI says measures are in place to address excess volatility
Amid a raging controversy over a meltdown in Adani group stocks, regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on February 4 said it is committed to ensuring the stock market’s integrity and all necessary surveillance measures are in place to address any excessive volatility in individual shares. Without naming the Adani group specifically, the capital markets watchdog said in a statement that unusual price movement in the stocks of a business conglomerate has been observed in the past week.
India’s macro fundamentals not affected by Adani’s FPO withdrawal: Nirmala Sitharaman
India’s economic image is not affected due to Adani Group’s recent decision to pull out ₹20,000 crore FPO amid allegations of financial wrongdoings, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on February 4. The Finance Minister said there has been an accretion of $8 billion to the forex reserves in the last two days alone. “...our macroeconomic fundamentals or our economy’s image, none of which has been affected. Yes, FPOs (follow-on public offers) come in, and FIIs (foreign institutional investors) get out,” Ms. Sitharaman said.
Supreme Court gets five new judges
Five judges were appointed to the Supreme Court on February 4 with the Centre clearing the names recommended by the Collegium on December 13 last year. Law Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted to announce the appointment of Justice Pankaj Mithal, Chief Justice, Rajasthan High Court; Justice Sanjay Karol, Chief Justice, Patna High Court; Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar, Chief Justice, Manipur High Court; Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah of Patna High Court; and Justice Manoj Misra of Allahabad High Court as apex court judges.
Vani Jairam, one of India’s most versatile voices, no more
Veteran playback singer Vani Jairam, who has sung over 10,000 songs across several Indian languages, died in Chennai on February 4. She was 77 years old. According to Chennai police sources, Jairam was alone at her home when she passed away. Her domestic aide, Malarkodi, who came in on Saturday morning, found the house locked from the inside and there was no response when she rang the doorbell. She went to the neighbour’s house, and they, in turn, called Jairam’s sister Uma, and alerted the police. Thousand Lights Police personnel got to her house and opened the door using an extra key from Uma, who had also reached by then. Police sources added that it seemed initially, that Jairam had fallen and hit her head on a table. There was a slight injury mark on her forehead. The body was sent to the Government Royapettah Hospital for a post-mortem. The police are treating this as an unnatural death, and have begun an investigation.
Police roped them as scapegoats, says court while discharging student activists in Jamia violence case
A court in New Delhi on February 4 discharged 11 people, including student activists Sharjeel Imam and Asif Iqbal Tanha, in the Jamia Nagar violence case, saying as the Delhi Police was unable to apprehend the actual perpetrators, it booked the accused as “scapegoats”. The court, however, ordered framing of charges against one of the accused, Mohammad Ilyas. “Marshalling the facts as brought forth from a perusal of the charge sheet and three supplementary charge sheets, this court cannot but arrive at the conclusion that the police were unable to apprehend the actual perpetrators behind the commission of the offence, but surely managed to rope the persons herein as scapegoats,” Additional Sessions Judge Arul Varma said.
J&K administration keeping watch, not Joshimath-like situation: LG over cracks in structures in Doda
Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha on February 4 said the Jammu and Kashmir administration was keeping a close watch on two dozen structures in Doda developing cracks but denied the situation was akin to the land subsidence witnessed in Joshimath. The best possible assistance will be extended to the affected families of Nai Basti in the Thathri area, situated around 35 km from the Doda town along the Kishtwar-Batote National Highway. While three houses collapsed after developing cracks, 18 other structures were rendered unsafe, prompting the district administration to shift over 100 people to safer places.
Agniveer defence recruitment process | Now, online common entrance exam is first
The Indian Army has announced a change in the Agniveer recruitment process and candidates wanting to join the Force will now have to first appear for an online common entrance examination, followed by physical fitness and medical tests. While advertisements regarding the change in the process have been put out by the Army in various newspapers, sources on February 4 said, the notification for this is expected to be issued around mid-February.
Opposition parties running away from discussion in Parliament: Union Minister Anurag Thakur
Union minister Anurag Singh Thakur on February 4 said the government has nothing to hide on the Adani issue and accused opposition parties of creating a ruckus in Parliament to evade a debate on the “people-friendly” budget. He alleged that they had insulted President Droupadi Murmu by stalling a discussion on the motion of thanks to the President’s address and demanded that they apologise to her. “We want discussion on the President’s address and 2023-24 budget which will guide India from ‘Amrit Kaal to Swarnim Kaal’ and will lay the foundation of New India but the Opposition is running away from discussion,” Mr. Thakur told reporters at BJP headquarters here.
Chinese spy balloon ‘transits’ Latin America after first craft flies over U.S.
A Chinese spy balloon has been spotted over Latin America, the Pentagon said on February 3, a day after a similar craft was seen in U.S. skies, prompting the scrapping of a rare trip to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The Pentagon said the first balloon was now heading eastwards over the central United States, adding it was not being shot down for safety reasons. Later Friday, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said, “We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America.” “We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” he added, without specifying its exact location.
Pakistan blocks Wikipedia over blasphemous material: report
Pakistan has blocked Wikipedia after the website refused to remove offensive or blasphemous material, according to a media report on February 4. The blacklisting of Wikipedia comes days after the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) degraded Wikipedia services for 48 hours, threatening to block it if the content deemed ‘blasphemous’ was not deleted, The News newspaper reported. When a PTA spokesperson was contacted late on Friday night and inquired about the blocking of Wikipedia, the official confirmed that “yes” it had been blocked, it reported. On the instruction of the high court, the PTA degraded — disrupting and slowing access to the encyclopedia — website for 48 hours because there was blasphemous content on it.
ASEAN Ministers urge Myanmar junta to implement agreed peace plan
Southeast Asian Ministers at the end of two-day talks in Indonesia on February 4 urged Myanmar’s junta to implement a five-point peace plan agreed two years ago to create a path towards ending the country’s political crisis. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Jakarta proposed an implementation plan to ASEAN members for the “five-point consensus” agreed with the junta in April 2021 that called for an end to violence and dialogue between the military and rebels. “Broad support was received from all member States to this plan,” she told reporters at the end of talks, without providing details of when and how they hoped the agreement would be implemented.
Australia can win, India more vulnerable at home this time: Greg Chappell
Batting great Greg Chappell believes Australia can win the upcoming high-profile four-match Test series as India are “vulnerable” this time with injuries to key players like Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah. “Australia can win this series. India are more vulnerable at home than they have been for some time due to injuries to key players like Rishbah Pant, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah. They will rely heavily on Virat Kohli,” Chappell wrote in an opinion piece for ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.
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