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Current Affairs in Short: 1 February 2019

The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for another year. The resolution will renew the sanctions regime, an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.

Feb 1, 2019 17:22 IST
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UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against CAR for another year

• The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for another year.
• Resolution 2454, adopted unanimously yesterday by the 15-member council, will renew the sanctions regime - an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
• It will also extend the mandate of the panel of experts, which helps the Security Council with the implementation of the sanctions, until Feb 29, 2020.
• The resolution envisages the establishment of key benchmarks in various sectors that could help the Security Council review the arms embargo on the CAR government by April 30, 2019.

US urges Venezuela's Maduro to accept amnesty

• The United States has urged Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro to accept an amnesty offer from opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom Washington has recognised as President.
• In a tweet, US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Maduro should take advantage of the amnesty offer and move on.
• Juan Guaido had declared himself the interim president of Venezuela last week and was swiftly recognised by the United States and key Latin American nations amid a spiralling economic crisis under Maduro's leftist regime.
• With the military leadership still backing Maduro, Guaido offered amnesty for anyone who disavows the president and has suggested a similar offer for Maduro himself.
• Maduro has said, he is willing to negotiate with the opposition and even offered to bring forward legislative elections. He has dismissed the idea of a new presidential poll.

Viswanathan Anand finishes joint third after drawing with Vidit Gujrathi

• In Chess, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand had to be content with a joint third-place finish after settling for a draw with compatriot Vidit Gujrathi in the 13th and final round of the Tata Steel Masters at Wijk Aan Zee, the Netherlands.
• With three victories, a defeat against winner Magnus Carlsen of Norway and nine draws, Anand ended the event on 7.5 points and will add six points to his existing rating. He is sixth in world rankings.
• Carlsen expectedly won the event after drawing rather easily with Anish Giri of Holland in the final round.

Gujarat govt increases DA of over 9.61 lakh employees

• Gujarat government has announced an increase in Dearness allowance of more than 9.61 lakh employees and pensioners by 2 per cent.
• The hike in dearness allowance will be given with retrospective effect of July 1, 2018. This was announced by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel at Gandhinagar on January 31, 2019.
• The Deputy CM that the increased salary would be paid from February along with the arrears since July last year.
• This decision would put an additional annual burden of Rs 771 crores on the state exchequer.
• Apart from state government employees and pensioners, employees of Panchayati Institutions will also get the benefit of this hike.

NHRC issues notice to UP govt over death of labourers

• NHRC has issued notice to Uttar Pradesh government over reported death of three labourers and injury to two others due to electrocution in Bareilly district.
• It has asked a detailed report in the state government within four weeks in the matter along with the relief and rehabilitation to be provided if not already provided.
• The Commission took suo motu cognizance of media reports that three labourers died due to electrocution while fixing poles, which came in contact with an overhead high tension wire.
• Reportedly, the contractor had no permission from the Electricity Department for the work. The commission has observed that going by the contents of the news reports, there was gross negligence on the part of the contractor. It said right to life of the deceased labourers and the injured has been violated.

Global sea level may be rising faster than previously thought: Scientists

• Tulane University Scientists have warned that the global sea level may be rising faster than previously thought.  
• The research, published in the journal Science, questions the reliability of how sea-level rise in areas such as southern Louisiana in the US is measured.
• It further stated that the current measurement method underestimates the severity of the problem. Relative sea-level rise, which is a combination of rising water level and subsiding land, is traditionally measured using tide gauges.
• The study found that while tide gauges can accurately measure subsidence that occurs below their foundations, they miss out on the shallow subsidence component. With at least 60 per cent of subsidence occurring in the top five metres of the sediment column, tide gauges are not capturing the primary contributor to relative sea-level rise.
• The rates of relative sea-level rise obtained from this approach are substantially higher than rates as inferred from tide-gauge data.

Scientists create AI based system that translates thoughts into speech

• Scientists have first time created an artificial intelligence (AI) based system that directly translates thoughts into intelligible, recognisable speech.
• The research will help people who cannot speak regain their ability to communicate with the outside world.
• The technology developed by researchers from Columbia University in the United States can reconstruct the words a person hears with unprecedented clarity.
• The breakthrough, which harnesses the power of speech synthesisers and artificial intelligence, could lead to new ways for computers to communicate directly with the brain.

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