2019 - International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements

  • The United Nations announced 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements to highlight its first publication in 1869.
  • The periodic table as we know it today was first designed by the Russian scientist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev.
  • The announcement by the United Nations will help to raise the profile of how chemistry can provide solutions to global challenges in agriculture, education, energy and health.

UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against Central African Republic (CAR) for another year

  • Resolution 2454, adopted unanimously yesterday by the 15-member council, decides to renew the sanctions regime - an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
  • It also decides to extend the mandate of the panel of experts, which helps the Security Council with the implementation of the sanctions, until February 29, 2020.

Russia to Follow U.S. in Abandoning Nuclear Weapons Treaty

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country will follow US example and withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty within 6 months.

  • He added that Russia will design new intermediate-range weapons.

  • The arms control agreement prohibits the production or testing of ground-launched cruise missiles with a range of approximately 300 to 3,400 miles.

    USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased: U.S. official

    • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has ceased all assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

    • The halt was requested by the Palestinian Authority but is certain to bring further hardship to people in the already deprived territories.

    • The deadline also sees the end of about $60 million in U.S. aid for the Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces helps maintain relative quiet in the West Bank.

    Presidential election to be held in El Salvador

    • Presidential election will be held in El Salvador, with four candidates contesting the post.
    • Incumbent President Salvador Ceren cannot run for a second consecutive term under the country's legislation.
    • Over 5.2 million citizens have registered to vote.
    • To win in the first round, a candidate must secure over 50% of the vote.
    • Otherwise, a run-off will be held on March 10, 2019 with two top candidates facing each other.
    • The president is elected for a fiveyear period.

    Landmark visit of Catholic Church head Pope Francis, Al Azhar Grand Imam At-Tayyeb to UAE

    • The three day-visit of the two religious leaders will see their participation in the Human Fraternity Conference which is being organized in Abu Dhabi.
    • In this interfaith dialogue, other religious leaders, scholars, and cultural figures, including representatives of the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh faiths will take part in the deliberations.

    Observer Research Foundation named 'highest ranked' Indian think tank

    • According to the global report named “2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report”, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) has been marked as India’s highest ranked think tank.

    • In the ''Think Tanks with the Most Innovative Policy Ideas category'', ORF has ranked eighth position.

    • A think tank or policy institute is a research institute and organization that performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology, and culture.

      The Chinese Lunar New Year is being celebrated around the world with lanterns, performances, decorations and food.

      • Chinese New Year has a varying date in the period January 21 to February 20.

      • Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday, February 5 in 2019, and on Saturday, January 25 in 2020.

      • People are bidding farewell to the Year of the Dog in the 12-year Chinese astrological cycle and welcoming the Year of the Pig with hopes of happiness and good fortune.

      • 2019: A year of the Pig will start on February 5th.

      • 2020: A year of the Rat will start on January 25th.

      UAE to build church, mosque named after Saint Francis and Grand Imam

      • A new church and mosque will be constructed in Abu Dhabi in honour of the historic visit of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, Dr. Ahmad Al Tayyeb to the UAE.
      • They will serve as beacons to uphold the values of tolerance, moral integrity and human fraternity in the UAE.
      • UAE had also granted 55000 square meters of land for the construction of a Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi.

      Macedonia signs accord to join NATO

      • Macedonia signed an accord to join NATO to become the 30th member of the US-led alliance.
      • According to the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the admittance of a new member highlighted that all European nations who meet the entrance criteria could join the regional alliance.
      • However, Moscow has continually rejected NATO's position, saying that by taking in Balkan members, the alliance is undermining security in the region.
      • The Macedonia-NATO accord follows a deal with Greece ending a 27-year-old dispute over Macedonia's name.
      • The accord must now be ratified by allied governments.

        Trump nominates US treasury diplomat David Malpass to head World Bank

        • In the USA, President Donald Trump has nominated senior Treasury official David Malpass as the next chief of the World Bank.
        • He would replace Jim Yong Kim as the president if voted by the Directors of the World Bank Group.
        • According to Trump, Malpass was eminently qualified for the position.
        • In his current capacity as the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, 62-year-old Malpass oversees the working of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

          Work permit mandatory for Indian workers in Nepal

          • Nepal government has made it mandatory for Indian citizens who come to work in Nepal’s industries and other institutions to possess necessary work permits.
          • The Department of Labour and Occupational Safety, had issued a letter to all its labour offices across the country to finalise the actual number of Indian workers working in different sectors in Nepal.
          • Thousands of Indian workers are working in Nepal without necessary work permit in different industrial areas, hotels and construction sites, among others.
          • As Nepal shares an open border with India, the government does not have actual data on number of such Indian citizens working in Nepal.

          India Pavilion inaugurated at 69th Berlin International Film Festival

          • The India Pavilion at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) 2019 was inaugurated by Director European Film Market, (EFM) Matthijis Wouter Knol.

          • Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry, is participating in the Berlin International Film Festival being held from 7th – 17th February, 2019 at Berlin, Germany.

          • The poster of IFFI 2019 was also inaugurated by the dignitaries during the inaugural ceremony.

          • According to the MrKnol, Director, EFM (European Film Market), the stakeholders of EFM would actively consider participating in the Golden Jubilee year of IFFI.

          • He also underlined that the participation would pave a way forward for a more proactive interaction between the Indian stakeholders & the Industry with the organizers of Berlinale in future.

          Thailand makes Siamese fighting fish national aquatic animal

          • Thailand named the tiny, eye-catching ,colourful fin plumaged Siamese fighting fish as its aquatic animal with a aim to boost the conservation and breeding of the same.
          • Siamese fighting fish is the native of Mekong basin of Thailand and is mostly found in the Chao Phraya river in Thailand.
          • The Siamese fighting fish was registered as intangible cultural heritage in 2013.

          • Its designation as Thailand’s national aquatic animal could help boost both conservation efforts and commercial breeding.
          • Its bright colors make the fish popular in home and office aquariums, while the aggression between males makes them popular with gamblers.

          • The fish is the first national aquatic animal to be designated.

          • Elephants are, of course, the kingdom’s national animal.

          US approves sale of two missile defence systems for Air India One

          • According to the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), The Trump administrations approved purchase of the two systems known as Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCAM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS) for an estimated cost of $190 million.

          • According to the Pentagon, the sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to strengthen the USIndian strategic relationship.

          • The purpose of the LAIRCM programme is to protect large aircraft from man-portable missiles.

          • 2018 fourth warmest year in continued warming trend, according to NASA, NOAA According to the independent analysis by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880.

          • According to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) here, global temperatures in 2018 were 0.83 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean.

          • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) analysis found 2018 global temperatures were 0.79 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average

          Asian Development Bank (ADB) debuts in offshore Philippine peso bond market

          • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised 5.2204 billion Philippine pesos ($100 million) from a new issue of local currency bonds in the international market.
          • Currency-linked bonds are denominated in the local currency but settled in US dollars.
          • The bonds pay a fixed interest rate of 5.25% and have a final maturity of 4 years.
          • The proceeds of the bonds will support ADB’s growing local currency operations in the Philippines and help to reduce foreign exchange risk for ADB’s borrowers.
          • According to the ADB Treasurer Mr. Pierre Van Peteghem, ADB is delighted to support the capital markets in the Philippines where ADB is based.
          • The bonds were fully placed with institutional investors in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
          • JP Morgan acted as sole lead manager.

          INS Trikand participates in exercise Cutlass Express 2019

          • INS Trikand, a front-line warship of the Indian Navy, participated in a multinational 2/19/2019
          • The aim of the exercise was to improve law enforcement capacity, promote regional security and progress inter-operability between the armed forces of the participating nations for the purpose of interdicting illegal maritime activity in the Western Indian Ocean.
          • During the exercise, Naval, Coast Guard and Marine Police personnel from a number of East African countries were jointly trained by mentors from USA, India, and Netherlands, with support of international organisations like the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Combined Maritime Force (CMF) and European Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR).

          Hindi included as third official court language in Abu Dhabi

          • Abu Dhabi has decided to include Hindi as the third official language used in its courts, alongside Arabic and English, as part of a move designed to improve access to justice.
          • According to the The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), it has extended the adoption of interactive forms of statement of claims filed before courts by including Hindi.
          • Relations between India and UAE have been on the upswing in the last few years, especially after the high-level visits which have helped in strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries.

          AMAN 19 naval exercise commences in Karachi

          • The five-day Multinational Maritime Exercise "AMAN-19" commenced in Karachi with the slogan “Together for Peace”.
          • Commander Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi was the chief guest of the opening ceremony.
          • The flag of 46 countries including Pakistan were hoisted and the contingents of Pakistan Navy presented a march-past.

          Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa to be on four-day visit to Bangladesh

          • He will meet the Chiefs of the three Defence Services and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
          • According to an official release, the Air Chief will also visit operational and training units of Bangladesh Air Force.
          • According to the Ministry of Defence,The visit of the IAF Chief is part of the bilateral goodwill visit to a SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nation.

          Red Cross calls for total ban on nuclear weapons

          • The Red Cross called for a total ban on nuclear weapons, warning of the growing risk that such arms could again be used with devastating effect.
          • The International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched a global campaign to raise awareness about the rising nuclear threat facing the world.
          • The campaign aims to encourage people to lobby their governments to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which has so far been signed by 70 nations and ratified by 21.
          • The notonukes.org campaign comes after the United States and Russia announced to abandon the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. 

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