Today’s Current Affairs January 20

January 20, 2020

Front page

Deadly virus threat looms over China: Massive efforts under way to contain it

Wuhan has emerged as the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus that can spread very quickly. As the Chinese Lunar Year holidays are approaching millions will leave the cities to head towards their villages in China’s hinterland. They could carry the infection with them. So, the administration is taking certain harsh measures to limit the outbreak.

Tough laws against sexual harassment in work places in the offing

To counter the growing incidence of sexual harassment of women in work places, the government will bring in tough new laws to deter the nuisance. Karnataka has the highest number of such crimes followed by Maharastra. Kerala has the best record in this regard

Bangladesh feels India’s CAA is unnecessary, but treats it as India’s internal matter

Sheikh Hashina, the President of Bangladesh has said in a newspaper interview that India’s CAA, and NRC exercises are largely unnecessary, but has clarified that these are India’s internal matters.

Mangaluru firing: CID will take over investigation

Responding to growing chorus of claims and counter claims about polices excesses in Mangaluru that resulted in two deaths, the state government has decided to entrust the case to the CID.

Farm land leasing restrictions to be eased

To enable companies to lease farm land to start corporate farming, and allied activities, the state government of Karnataka is mulling a relaxation of the restrictions mentioned in Section 5 of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act.

Kerala Mosque facilitates Hindu wedding in its premises? Sets an example in communal amity

A mosque in Kayanapuram in Kerala went out of its way to facilitate a Hindu wedding inside its premises where a Hindu priest performed the rituals. Muslims and Hindu volunteers joined hands to decorate the place. Vegetarian food for 1000 guests of both communities was cooked and served by the Mosque management. Both Hindus and Muslims ate together. Additionally, the mosque gave away gold worth of Rs.2 lakh to the couple. Chief Minister Pinarayi lauded the unique effort and spirit of the organizers towards fostering communal friendship.

Good words used ..Laud, Foster, Amity

Lucknow police seize blankets and food of women protesters

In a bizarre attempt to curb anti-CAA protests, Lucknow police swooped down on women protesters and took away their blankets and food parcels. The incident triggered a countrywide twitter uproar against the police action. The police later clarified that ‘due process’ of law has been followed in the case.

Good words and phrases used .. Bizarre, Swoop down, Uproar

National

Mumbai to get back its mounted police back

The city saw its last contingent of mounted police in 1932. It was disbanded as the city roads began to have more vehicular traffic. The horse-mounted policing system became passé. Now, after a gap of 82 years, mounted police will reappear in the city to augment patrolling duties.

Good words used .. Disbanded, Passé, Augment

Shiridi shrine shut down after CM’s remark

Udhav Thackeray had earlier claimed that Pathri and Parbhani district was the birth place of the saint. This claim irked the temple management so much that they decided to shut down the temple indefinitely. The whole town observed a Bandh over the matte.

Irawaddi dolphins come calling to Chilika

As many as 146 of the endangered Irawaddy dolphins have been sighted off the Chilika coast. It has brought cheers to the authorities of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA).

12 terror suspects arrested in a country-wide operation

In a coordinated operation, a total of 12 suspects have been arrested from Bengaluru, Delhi, Udupi, Mumbai and Ahemedabab. By doing so, the police have foiled a plan to attack prominent individuals and institutions.

Five crore students form a human chain in Bihar against social evils

A ring measuring 18,000 kilometers was formed by school students, teachers, and members of the public. The chief minister and his colleagues joined in the collective effort meant to raise awareness about evils like dowry, and child marriage.

Jyotiraditya Scindia set to become MP Congress Chief

The long-awaited elevation of Scindia to the top post in MP is finally going to happen. The chief minister who was holding dual charge will hand over the Party President’s baton to Scindia.

Kapil Sibal says, states can’t defy center on CAA

Since the CAA is an act passed by the parliament, the states are constitutionally bound to honour it. Instead, they should await the Supreme Court’s verdict on the validity of the Act when tested against Article 131 of the Constitution.

Released lawyer says Emergency days were better

Mohanmmad Shoaib, the septuagenarian lawyer who had been jailed during Emergency, was released from Lucknow jail after a period of 30 days. He had been incarcerated for his opposition to the CAA which he deemed to be reprehensible and discriminatory.

Good words used .. Reprehensible, Incarceration

Mohammed Karzai says Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, all suffered in Afghanistan

The ex-President of war-torn Afghanistan said that the long-drawn armed conflict destroyed the lives of scores of Afghans. In the process, the religious minorities and the Muslims alike paid the price. So, India must help all those victims irrespective of their religion as there is a groundswell of goodwill towards India in Afghanistan.

3500-kilometer range ballistic missile launched from submarine

India successfully launched a 3500-km range nuclear ballistic missile from a submarine. The launch marked a milestone in India’s long journey to perfect its nuclear arsenal.

Good words used .. Groundswell, Arsenal

Kerala Governor fumes on being sidelined on CAA appeal issue

The governor of Kerala has berated the state government for not seeking his approval before approaching Supreme Court on the CAA issue. He has said that he is the Constitutional head of the state and can not be sidelined on such matters.

HC asks Telengana government why Kaseem was not arrested for 14 years

Chintakindi Kaseem, an associate professor, was arrested from his official quarters on charges of being in cohorts with the Maoists. Arrest warrants were issued against him in 2012 and 2019. The High Court demanded to know why Kaseem had not been apprehended earlier.

Good words used .. Cohorts, Apprehended

Lone, rare migratory eagle sighted in Andhra Pradesh

The steppe eagle was spotted in a paddy field by two amateur bird enthusiasts from the IISER, Tirupati. The eagle was long listed as endangered and possibly extinct.

International

Trump’s defence team confronts impeachment charges with scorn and ridicule

President Trump’s star-studded battery of lawyers dismissed the impeachment charges as brazen, and worthy of contempt. They asserted that the President broke no laws and the Democrats had acted out of political vendetta in pressing the charges.

Good words used … Scorn, Vendetta, Star-studded, Brazen, Contempt

Meghan and Harry to drop titles, retire as working royals

The duo whose dramatic decision to relinquish royalty raised many eyebrows around the world will lead their lives as commoners. They will not receive any funding from the Queen, and the money spent on the renovation of their house will be paid back by them.

Libya summit seeks end to fighting

World leaders meeting in Berlin renewed their efforts to bring about an end to the relentless violence and killing that has ravaged Libya so far.

Iran will examine the Black Boxes itself

Iran has decided to do the scrutiny of the information contained in the Black Box of the ill-fated Ukrainian passenger jet. Earlier, it had planned to send it to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

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Understanding Iran..

In is very much in the news today due to many things that happened almost coincidentally. An American drone strike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani when he was coming out of the Baghdad airport in neighboring Iraq.

Gen. Soliemani was a cult figure inside Iran, but a dreaded and reviled terrorist outside the country. He was a colourful soldier, tough, patriotic, intelligent and daredevil. He was the brain behind Iran’s involvement in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, and Syria. In all these places, he raised militant outfits that could fight with the elected governments to destabilize them. In doing so, Gen. Soleimani saw the fulfillment of Iran’s desire of projecting its military clout well beyond its borders. In his strategies, he was brilliant, in his methods, he was brutal. His covert campaigns in Lebanon caused much headache to Israel, and in Yemen, he could virtually checkmate the mighty Saudi army. No wonder, for many Iranians, he was a legend.

The United States loathed him with the utmost contempt, the Arabs perceived him to be a Satan, and for the rest of the world, he was a trouble maker who was doing Iran more harm than good.

Iran is a democracy, but not in the strict sense. Its present President Hassan Rouhani is directly elected by the people, much the same way America elects its president. However, despite being the elected head of the state, Mr. Rohani has to heed the advice of the spiritual head of the country, Ali Khamenei. This super authority exerted by a non-elected clergy man makes the Iranian system flawed.

In the present stand-off between Iran and the United States, most policy decisions are being taken by Ali Khamenei. The missile strike on U.S. bases in the vicinity of Baghdad, inexplicably, produced little real damage, but the accidental missile hit on a Ukranian passenger liner made the Iranian army look amateurish, and ill-trained. It was a self goal that dented the national confidence and angered the youth. A mishap like this hurt Iran very bad, because the whole nation was raving at the United States with all its vitriol then.

Life for the Iranian young men and women had never been easy in normal times. Unemployment, and moral policing angered the youth as they felt the religious clergy was forcing them to be out of step with the rest of the world through coercion. The U.S. sanctions made things worse. The faltering economy, and the isolation from the rest of the world made the youth angrier as they descended on the streets clamoring for better governance.

The young Iranians want a freer society, an end to the totalitarian government structure, more integration to the rest of the world, and above all peace and prosperity. In the deep corner of their minds they feel a nuclear bomb might bring them some sense of security, but the trade-off against stability and economic growth might be too costly. The U.S.-imposed sanctions must end, the younger generations feel.

The strike on Baghdad did bring the protesting youth some cheer, but the downing of the Boeing passenger plane quickly immersed the nation in self-doubt, and indignation. The youth have turned against their own leaders.

This noise emanating from Teheran must be music to the ears of President Trump and his hawkish advisors. Are they seeing some possibility of a ‘regime change’? They are elated, no doubt, but an angry Iran is a long term security risk for the Americans and Arabs. The Iranians seldom forget or forgive. They will hit U.S. interests at the point of their choosing. So, the dagger hangs on the U. S. It should worry the Americans.

 

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