- ECI initiates measures to make elections more transparent
- The Election Commission of India (ECI) is making arrangements for introducing Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) during the 2019 elections to provide instant feedback to the electors thereby buttress its claim that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are tamper-proof.
- The EVMs are being manufactured by ECIL and BEL. At the same time, the ECI is spreading awareness about the VVPAT-enabled equipment. Besides, the electoral rolls are going to be fully integrated with the National Voters’ Services Portal (NVSP) soon.
- Under the NVSP, people can get new registrations and other changes thereof done online. These two are major initiatives of the ECI aimed at making elections more transparent and saving the time and energy spent by people under the manual system of voter registration and additions and deletions, according to V. Venkateswara Rao, Officer-on-Special Duty to the Chief Electoral Officer of Andhra Pradesh.
- The VVPAT facility would display for a short while the names along with symbols of the parties to which people cast their vote, which helps them in exposing any mischief on the spot.
- The online systems would help in rectifying demographic similar entries (duplication of data) and various other lapses which have a direct bearing on the outcome of elections.
- Maldives declares state of emergency
- Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen has declared a 15-day state of Emergency, his aide Azima Shukoor announced on state television.
- The move gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects as Yameen refuses to comply with a Supreme Court order to release political prisoners.
- The latest crisis was triggered when the Maldivian Supreme Court ordered the release of some opposition leaders, including former president Mohammed Nasheed, after overturning their “terrorism” convictions.
- Dubai named the world’s busiest International Airport
- Dubai International Airport says it has held on to its No 1 ranking as the world’s busiest airport for ‘international travel’, after seeing some 88.2 million passengers in 2017.
- Dubai International Airport first surpassed London Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport for international traffic in 2014.
- It has maintained the title ever since, with some 90 airlines flying into skyscraper-studded Dubai.
- The airport is home to the long-haul carrier Emirates.
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia remains the world’s busiest airport overall.
· Japan Launches Smallest Rocket Ever To Carry Tiny Satellite into Orbit
- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)launched the world’s smallest rocket with the ability to put a tiny satellite into orbit.
- The rocket lifted off from the Uchinoura Space Center.
- It carried a microsatellite TRICOM-1R, a three-unit CubeSat weighing about 3 kilograms.
- This satellite launch was a re-flight of the TRICOM-1 mission, which was lost in SS-520’s failure in 2017.
- The launch was aimed at testing the ability of JAXA to launch low-cost rockets that can put microsatellites into space at affordable rates.
· India contributes $1 million to UN Development Partnership Fund
- India contributed additional $1 million to India-UN Development Partnership Fund, earmarked for South-South cooperation.
- The contribution aims to intensify its partnerships with other developing countries in the south.
- India has pledged a multi-year contribution of $100 million to the fund establishment in June 2017.
- The fund was set up on 9 June 2017 on occasion of the World Oceans Day as a partnership between India and United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation.
· International company Singtel to invest 2649 crores in Bharati Telecom
- Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) spend up to 2643 crores on shares in India’s Bharti Telecom, lifting its stake slightly in the holding company for Bharti Airtel to just under half.
- India’s telecommunications sector has been hit hard by a price war since the entry of carrier Reliance Jio, the telecoms arm of Reliance Industries Ltd, more than a year ago.
- The purchase worth as much as 26.5 billion rupees could increase Singtel’s stake in Bharti Telecom by up to 1.7 percentage points to 48.9 percent and its holding in Bharti Airtel, the country’s biggest mobile carrier, by up to 0.9 percentage points to 39.5 percent.
- The deal will be done via a preferential share allotment.
- Maharashtra govt approves new wildlife sanctuary at Ghodazari
- The Maharashtra government has approved Ghodazari in Chandrapur district as a new wildlife sanctuary in the state.
- The decision was taken at the 13th meeting of the Maharashtra State Board for Wildlife, chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
- The sanctuary, in the North East of Tadoba, will include 159 sq km of Brahmapuri forest.
· India Successfully Test-Fires Nuclear-Capable Agni-I Missile
- India successfully test-fired the indigenously developed short-range nuclear capable Agni-I ballistic missile.
- The missile was fired from the Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast.
- The test was conducted by the Strategic Force Command of the Indian Army.
- The range of Missile is 700 km.
- It was 18th version of Agni-I.
· Prime Minister Narendra Modi to go on 4-day visit to Palestine, UAE, Oman on February 9
- Prime Minister Narendra Modiwill have a packed schedule during his four days visit to Palestine, UAE, and Oman from ninth of this month.
- This will be the first-ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine, and Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to UAE and first to Oman.
- During the visit, the Prime Minister will hold discussions on matters of mutual interest with their leaders, apart from participating in many community events.
- In Dubai, Prime Minister would be addressing the Sixth World Government Summit being at which India has been extended ‘Guest of Honour’ status. Joint Secretary (Gulf).
- IWAI Signs Project Agreement With World Bank For Jal Marg Vikas Project.
- Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)signed a project agreement with the World Bank for Jal Marg Vikas Project on river Ganga.
- The World Bank entered into a USD 375 million loan agreement with the Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance for Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).
- Jal Marg Vikas Project, which is expected to be completed by March 2023, is being implemented with the financial and technical support of the World Bank.
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