Daily Current Affairs and GK | 15 February 2022
- 1. Australia listed koalas as endangered species.
- 2. Bill Gates’s new book to be released on 3 May.
- 3. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier elected again.
- 4. 4th Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting concluded in Melbourne, Australia.
- 5. Crude Palm Oil agriculture-cess has been reduced to 5% by government.
- 6. Jaisalmer Desert Festival kicked off in Rajasthan.
- 7. India bans 54 apps of Chinese origin.
- 8. Chief Justice Munishwarnath Bhandari takes oath as Chief Justice of Madras High Court.
- 9. India, Maldives organize 3rd Defense Cooperation Dialogue to strengthen defense cooperation.
- 10. FICCI CASCADE launched Anti-Smuggling Day.
- 11. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba declared as President of Burkina Faso.
- 12. Telangana Government signed an MoU with British Council.
- 13. Israel becomes first country to allow drones in civilian airspace.
- 14. Rishabh Pant bagged 'Test Batting Award' at ESPN Cricinfo Awards.
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Topic: Environment and Ecology
1. Australia listed koalas as endangered species.
- Australia has officially listed koalas as endangered species. Its most of the habitat has been destroyed due to bushfires, drought, and land clearing activities.
- Koala species are inhabited in Australia for at least 25 million years. At present, only one species remains — the Phascolarctos cinereus.
- It is found in the forest and coastal areas of the southeast and eastern sides of Australia.
- Koala species survive on eucalyptus leaves and sleep for 18 hours a day to conserve energy.
- The number of Koalas has declined drastically since 2001 and they were classified as “vulnerable” in 2012.
- The spread of chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, also impacted the reproductive part of Koalas.
- The Australian government will spend $35 million over the next four years for the conservation and recovery of the koala population.
- Koala is an arboreal herbivorous animal and is listed as a vulnerable species in the IUCN red list.
Topic: Books and Authors
2. Bill Gates’s new book to be released on 3 May.
- Bill Gates’s new book titled “How To Prevent The Next Pandemic” will be released on 3 May.
- In the book, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has written about how to make Covid-19 the last pandemic ever.
- His previous book is titled “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need”. It was released in February 2021.
Topic: International News
3. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier elected again.
- German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been elected again for a second term of 5 years.
- Steinmeier was re-elected by a special assembly comprising of members of the lower house (Bundestag) of parliament and representatives of 16 states of Germany.
- Steinmeier became president for the first time in 2017. Germany's president has little executive power. He is considered an important moral authority.
- It is located in the central and western region of Europe. Its capital and largest city is Berlin. Olaf Scholz is its chancellor.
- It borders Denmark to north. It borders Poland and the Czech Republic to east.
- It borders Austria and Switzerland to south. It borders France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Netherlands to west.
Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings
4. 4th Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting concluded in Melbourne, Australia.
- 4th Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting concluded in Melbourne, Australia on 11 February 2022.
- This was the third in-person meeting of Quad foreign ministers after their second meeting in Tokyo in October 2020 and inaugural meeting in New York in September 2019.
- The ministers last held talks virtually in February 2021. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Australia’s Marise Payn participated in the meeting.
- At the meeting, External Affairs Minister Dr.S Jaishankar has called for a free and open Indo-pacific and rule-based international order.
- At the conclusion of the meeting, QUAD ministers issued a joint statement. They reaffirmed the UNSC Resolution 2593 passed in 2021. Resolution 2593 deals with the use of Afghan territory for terrorist activities.
- Quad vaccine partnership was announced in March 2021. It aims to deliver one billion doses of vaccines to the Indo-Pacific region by the end of 2022.
- QUAD was established in 2007. Australia, India, Japan, and the United States are members of this forum.
Topic: Indian Economy
5. Crude Palm Oil agriculture-cess has been reduced to 5% by government.
- The Centre has cut the agriculture -cess for Crude Palm Oil from 7.5 percent to 5 percent with effect from February 12.
- This will give relief to consumers and prevent a further rise in the price of domestic edible oils.
- After reducing the agri-cess, the import tax gap between Crude Palm Oil and Refined Palm Oil has grown to 8.25 percent.
- The government has also extended the present zero percent basic rate of import duty on crude palm oil, crude soyabean oil, and crude sunflower oil until 30 September.
- The 12.5 percent import duty on refined palm oils, 17.5 percent on refined soyabean oil, and 17.5 percent on refined sunflower oil will continue in effect until September 30, 2022.
- Furthermore, under the Essential Commodities Act of 1955, the government has set stock limit levels on edible oils and oilseeds up to June 30th of this year.
Topic: State News/ Rajasthan
6. Jaisalmer Desert Festival kicked off in Rajasthan.
- On February 13, the world-famous Jaisalmer Desert Festival, also known as the Golden City's Maru Mahotsav, started at Pokhran.
- The four-day Festival began with a colourful grand procession, followed by competitions for Miss Pokhran and Mister Pokhran.
- The Rajasthan Tourism Department, in collaboration with the district administration, is hosting Maru Mahotsav this year.
- Turban tying, Panihari Matka, Mehandi, and Mandana competitions are the main tourist attraction events of the four-day festival.
- Folk dances such as Kalbelia, Kachhi Ghodi, and Gair were performed by groups of artists.
- On February 16, the festival will conclude with a horse race, a camel dance, and firework display.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: National News
7. India bans 54 apps of Chinese origin.
- India has banned 54 apps of Chinese origin citing security concerns.
- Banned apps include Sea Ltd.’s marquee game Free Fire and other apps related to tech firms like Tencent, Alibaba and NetEase.
- The apps banned by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology are re-branded versions of apps banned by India in 2020.
- Free Fire is often compared with PUBG. It is among world’s most popular mobile games.
- Chinese apps on which restrictions have been imposed earlier:
- Chinese apps including PUBG Mobile, TikTok, Weibo, WeChat, AliExpress were banned by India last year.
- In June 2020, 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, UC Browser and Cam Scanner, were blocked under section 69A of the IT Act.
- In November 2020, 43 mobile apps were banned through an order under section 69A of the IT Act.
- Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 provides government power to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource. This section allows government to block websites.
Topic: Indian Polity
8. Chief Justice Munishwarnath Bhandari takes oath as Chief Justice of Madras High Court.
- Tamil Nadu Governor Ravindra Narayana Ravi (R.N.Ravi) administered oath to him.
- He was appointed to the Madras High Court after the transfer of Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the Meghalaya High Court in November 2021.
- Chief Justice of High Court:
- Appointment: The President appoints the Chief Justice of the High Court after consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the governor of the state.
- Oath: The oath is administered by the governor of the state or Lieutenant Governor in Union Territories or a person appointed by governor.
Topic: International News
9. India, Maldives organize 3rd Defense Cooperation Dialogue to strengthen defense cooperation.
- Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and CDF of Maldives National Defence Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal participated in the 3rd Defense Cooperation Dialogue between India and Maldives.
- Both sides discussed capacity-building initiatives for enhancing the security of the region.
- This dialogue will help in enhancing cooperation against counter trans-national crimes in the Indo-pacific region.
- Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar also inaugurated the Composite Training Center Phase-I Annex. It has been built with the grant assistance of India.
- India has also helped the Maldives in the ‘Coast Guard Dockyard’ project. It is one of the most comprehensive defense infrastructure development projects in the Maldives.
- In August 2021, Maldives and India signed a contract for the implementation of the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) project.
- The Maldives is one of India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: Important Days
10. FICCI CASCADE launched Anti-Smuggling Day.
- It will be observed every year on 11th February.
- It has been launched to enhance coordination and cooperation between law enforcement agencies.
- Anti-Smuggling Day will help in raising awareness about the growing threat of smuggling.
- This initiative will bring policymakers, international institutions, enforcement agencies, and industry members at one platform against smuggling.
- FICCI CASCADE is playing a key role in raising awareness about the dangers of illegal, illicit, and counterfeit goods.
- According to FICCI, illicit trade has resulted in an annual loss of US$2.2 trillion (approx. 3 percent of world GDP) in 2020.
- Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) is the largest, oldest, and apex business non-governmental trade association in India.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: International News
11. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba declared as President of Burkina Faso.
- The Constitutional Council of Burkina Faso has declared Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba as President.
- Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba is also the head of state and Supreme commander of the armed forces.
- He was the President of the Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration (Junta).
- He will be assisted by two vice presidents.
- On 24 January, officers led by Damiba removed elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore from his post.
- Burkina Faso:
- It is a landlocked country in West Africa.
- It shares its border with Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.
- Its capital is Ouagadougou.
12. Telangana Government signed an MoU with British Council.
- The government of Telangana and the British Council have inked an MoU to renew their partnership in Education, English, and Arts.
- The main aim of MoU is to create new opportunities for the youth of Telangana.
- The Research and Innovation Centre of Hyderabad (RICH) and the British Council have agreed upon this MoU.
- Both organizations will closely work to create new partnerships between universities, research institutions, and centers of excellence.
- This MoU will also promote research in the fields of aerospace, defence, life sciences, and pharmaceuticals.
- Both organizations will also take part in joint innovation or entrepreneurship initiatives.
- The British Council and the Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE) are partners for the past decade.
- British Council is an international organization for providing educational opportunities and cultural exchange.
Topic: International News
13. Israel becomes first country to allow drones in civilian airspace.
- Israel has become the first country in the world to allow drones in civilian aerospace.
- The approval will allow Hermes Starliner unmanned system to fly in civilian airspace like any other civilian airliner.
- The Hermes Starliner can fly for up to 36 hours at an altitude of about 7,600 metres. It can carry 450 kg of electro-optical, thermal, radar, and other payloads.
- It can take part in border security and anti-terror operations and can help in maritime search and rescue operations.
- The Hermes Starliner has been designed and manufactured under the supervision of the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
- Transport and Road Safety Minister of Israel said that UAVs will help in agriculture, environment, fight against crime, etc.
14. Rishabh Pant bagged 'Test Batting Award' at ESPN Cricinfo Awards.
- India’s wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant gets the 'Test batting' prize at ESPNcricinfo Awards.
- He has been awarded for his 89 not out knock at Gabba during the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
- New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson gets the 'Captain of the Year' award at ESPNcricinfo Awards.
- The "Test bowling" award went to Kyle Jamieson. England fast bowler Ollie Robinson gets the ‘Debutant of the year’ award.
- Shaheen Afridi won the ‘T20I bowling’ award for his performance against India at the T20 World Cup.
- Fakhar Zaman got the ‘ODI batting’ award for his performance against South Africa at the Wanderers.